We’ve seen it too many times, children injured in car accidents. Many times, the risk of injury to children could be reduced if the proper restraints were installed and used correctly. All automobile occupants should be properly restrained by seat belts or child safety seats to help minimize injury. Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of injury and death for all children. Compared to seat belts, car seats reduce the risk of injury by up to 82% and reduce the risk of death by 28%, according to AAA. However, on average, 3 out of every 4 car seats are installed improperly.
Engineers are hard at work ensuring that cars and car seats are designed to keep kids as safe as possible. But it’s up to the parents to take advantage of these innovations. Here are a few tips to ensure that your most precious cargo is safe:
- Check the Label. Age, weight and height recommendations are listed to help ensure you use the proper car seat for your child.
- Car Seats have expiration dates, usually around six years. Double check to make sure it’s still safe. Discard any seat that has passed its expiration date.
- Car seats need to be replaced after an accident. So if you buy one used, know its full crash history. It’s best to buy from someone that you personally know and not one from a thrift store or over the internet.
- Make sure it is installed correctly
- Inch Test. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
- Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check your car seat manual). With the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you’re good to go.
- Find a certified technician or car seat check near you to have your seat double checked.
- The CDC has set guidelines for the type of seat needed at different stages in the child’s life. For instance, 0-2 years old should be in a rear facing car seat.
- Buckle up! When adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. Be a good example and buckle up for every ride and make sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.
If your child or a loved one is injured in a car wreck, don’t hesitate to visit us online or give us a call at 1-800-227-9732 (1800-CARWRECK).