The personal injury attorneys at Brannon & Brannon (Fort Walton Beach, Florida) strongly recommend that parents thoroughly inspect their child’s car seat or restraining system following an accident; even if the accident is a mere ‘fender bender”. We also encourage every parent to review the recommended car seat for their child’s height and weight.
- Car Seat Inspection Following A Car Accident:
As a father, myself, I am always concerned with my client’s safety and the safety of their family following a car accident. If my client has a young family and travels with children in car seats, I choose to discuss this issue of car seat replacement as a precaution. Even if my client’s child was not involved in the accident, it is possible that the child’s car seat may have been damaged during the accident. If the child’s car seat or restraining system was in the vehicle at the time of the accident, a parent should determine whether the child’s car seat can be reused.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (“NHTSA”) recommends that child safety seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash. This will ensure that your child will continue to receive the high level of crash protection for child passengers. Surprisingly, the NHTSA recently updated their position on the replacement of car seats following an accident. Following minor crashes, the NHTSA says that a parent should consider the following criteria before automatically replacing the seat:
- Was the vehicle inoperable following the accident? If yes, you should replace the seat.
- Was the door nearest the safety seat damaged? If yes, you should replace the seat.
- Were there injuries reported by the vehicle’s occupants? If yes, you should replace the seat.
- Did the air bags deploy? If yes, you should replace the seat.
- Is there any visible damage to the safety seat? If yes, you should replace the seat.
These are very general guidelines provided by the NHTSA. Parents should always use their common sense. and discuss their concerns with the manufacturer of the care seat.
- Recommended Car Seat For Your Child’s Height And Weight:
First and foremost, if your child already has a car seat, check the recommended height and weight restrictions for that seat. Do not place your child in a seat that isn’t designed for his/her weight and height. For detailed information, visit SaferCar.gov.gov, specifically, Rightseat.
Here are some basics from NHTSA
0 – 12 Months: If you child is under one (1) year of age, always have them ride in a rear-facing car seat.
1 – 3 Years: Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer.
4 – 7 Years: As a personal injury attorney, this is where we see most parents foregoing safety for convenience. Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat. Never let a child that is in a booster ride in the front seat.
8 – 12 Years: Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember, it is always safer for your child to ride in the back seat.
Take these tips to ensure the safety of your children and to prevent injuries in a car accident. If you or a family member have been involved in a car accident, please visit the personal injury website of Brannon & Brannon for more information www.BrannonCanHelp.com. For a free consultation, please call (850) 863-5297 or visit one of our office locations in Fort Walton Beach, Florida or Crestview, Florida.