Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children under the age of 13. On average, two children a day are dying on our roadways. Many times, deaths and injuries can be prevented with the proper use of seat belts, boosters and car seats. Our attorneys at Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C. care about protecting our youth, and during Child Passenger Safety Week, we are encouraging all adults to take the proper steps to ensure children are safe when riding in a vehicle. Understanding and knowing about each of the following topics will go a long way in saving lives.
- Car Crashes and Pennsylvania’s Seat Belt Law
- Car Seat Recommendations by Age
- Child Safety Seat Fitting Stations
- Child Safety Seat Loan Programs
- Registering Your Car Seat
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports in 2016, 723 children died in auto accidents. 213 of those children were unrestrained and many others were not properly restrained.
Car Crashes and Pennsylvania’s Seat Belt Law
Having a thorough understanding of Pennsylvania’s Primary Child Passenger Safety Law will help parents keep their children safe on the road. Here is a brief breakdown. The law states that children under the age of four must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat while in a vehicle. Children under the age of two must be secured in a rear-facing seat until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limit specified by the seat manufacturer. Finally, children from age four to eight must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat, while children ages eight through 18 must be in a seat belt.
Car Seat Recommendations for Children
Car seats should always be selected based on a child’s age and size, as well as a style that fits in the vehicle. For the proper style, parents should read the vehicle owner’s manual and refer to the car seat manufacturer instructions. THE NHTSA recommends children remain in the back seat through the age of 12.
Birth to Two Years
Children under the age of 2 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing seats including infant-only seats, convertible and 3-in-1 car seats.
Two to Three Years
Parents should keep their children rear-facing as long as possible. They should remain in a rear-facing seat until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by the seat’s manufacturer.
Four to Seven Years
For this age group, the NHTSA says parents should keep their child in a forward-facing seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height and weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Once they outgrow the forward-facing seat with a harness, they can move on to a booster seat.
Eight to 12 Years
Parents should keep their children in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. This means, the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs—not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not across the face or neck.
Child Safety Seat Fitting Stations
Understanding what type of seat a child needs is the first step in protecting children in car crashes. The next step is installation, which isn’t always an easy task. Even when parents think they have it right, many times they’ve missed a critical step that ensures their child is properly restrained. PennDOT provides funding for more than 75 fitting stations throughout the state, where trained technicians will check to see if the safety seat is properly installed.
As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, Kelly Cadillac is partnering with Safe Kids of Lancaster County to offer free seat checks September 22nd from 9am until 1pm.
Child Safety Seat Loan Programs
Safety should never be compromised because of a lack of money. Many counties in our state, including Lancaster County, have loan programs to provide child safety seats to families in need. These programs ensure everyone is following the law and keeping children safe while riding in vehicles. Most programs offer a variety of seats including infant seats, convertible seats, combination seats and booster seats.
Registering Your Car Seat
Finally, parents should always remember to register their car seat. This will ensure they are in the loop in the event of a recall or safety notice due to a defective product.
Keeping children safe is a top priority for parents. Unfortunately, even when parents follow all the safety tips to avoid an injury, car crashes with injuries can still happen. If your child was injured in an auto accident, you may have a case. If a car seat or booster seat malfunctioned, there’s a chance you have a case against a manufacturer.
Call Georgelis First for a free consultation. We’re available 24/7 and there’s never a fee unless we get money for you. Contact us today to learn about your legal options and we’ll handle everything from here!