Desmond Insurance Blog
While you might think it would be safe to comply with your state’s child safety or restraint law, we have a surprise for you.
So here are some tips on protecting children, the persons most vulnerable to injuries during car accidents.
Child Restraint Laws
A National Safe Kids campaign review of state child restraint laws found many to be inadequate. Existing restraint laws:
How Are Children Best Protected?
There are many different types of child car seats, so it’s essential to find the right one and have it installed correctly. See the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s website for more details. Here are a few considerations for protecting young auto passengers:
Infants - Should be in well-constructed and padded infant carrier that should be located in a rear seat. Infant seats should be designed to face the rear of the seat and NOT the front of the passenger area. Infants must be protected from the chance of being thrown forward into hard surfaces.
Toddlers - Should be in well-constructed, padded child carriers that, while facing forward, should only be placed in the rear passenger seats. Again, this is to minimize the chance of hitting hard surfaces (such as a dashboard or a windshield) and to avoid air bags that are designed to protect adults.
Pre-schoolers - May transition from child carriers to well-constructed and padded booster seats. The purpose of boosters is to make sure that seat belts fit properly. As with child carriers, these restraints should be installed in rear passenger seats.
Older children - Around age 12, it should be safe to allow children to ride in a car’s front seat. HOWEVER, the age guideline assumes that a child has become tall and heavy enough to be properly secured by regular restraints. Be careful that shoulder straps either fit these children properly or are properly tied-down so they don’t represent a hazard. Also, be realistic. Age is a secondary consideration to body size. If a child’s small build results in a poor fit for regular seat belts and shoulder straps, continue placing the child in the rear with a secure seat belt.
A disconcerting fact from the National Safe Kid campaign survey is the high incidences of children who are allowed to ride in cars without restraints or while improperly secured. This sad fact results in hundreds of thousands of serious injuries and deaths. Every passenger in a vehicle should use restraints that are appropriate for his or her age and size. Don’t depend on a law; depend on what’s needed to keep everyone safe.