Many car seats are not installed or used correctly, resulting in serious injuries to children when the driver gets in a car accident. Properly installing a car seat is likely to improve child safety in the event of a car accident.
Importance of Proper Installation of Car Seats
About 75 percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly, according to Safe Kids. Improperly installed car seats are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Children who put the shoulder belt behind their back compromise the effectiveness of the seat. All passengers need a lap and shoulder belt, according to Safe Kids Virginia. When children are not properly secured by both types of belts, they can be flung around in the vehicle, resulting in brain trauma, fractures, paralysis and sometimes death if they are involved in a car accident.
Selecting the right kind of car seat is the first step to preventing injuries. Babies need to be in a rear-facing seat until they are at least two years old. Children should use a five-point harness car seat until they are about 70 pounds, depending on the brand.
Children who weigh between 80 to 100 pounds and is at least 4’9″ should sit on a booster seat and should continue to do so until they can safely fit into a seat with a safety belt. In the booster seat, children should sit flush with the back seat with the shoulder belt across the chest and shoulders. Lap belts should go across their hip bones. The child’s knees should be bent over the seat so that they are not sliding out of the belt. When a child is strapped into her booster seat properly, the child can be restrained during an accident. If the child is not strapped in properly, the harness can actually cause serious injuries.
When parents use car and booster seats correctly, they can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent. For kids between 4 and 8 years old, booster seats reduce the risk of serious injury by 45 percent, according to Safe Kids. When a person is involved in an accident, a personal injury lawyer may be able to review the facts to determine the viability of an accident claim.