The Importance of Using the Right Car Seat
Under Florida law, all children who are under the age of five years old and are traveling in a vehicle must use a car seat. While these laws have played an important role in helping protect children, their effectiveness also depends in large part on the type of car seat being used and how the seat is positioned. Furthermore, all car seats must be crash tested and federally approved.
Despite these requirements, thousands of children are injured in car accidents every year, many of which are the result of a manufacturer’s negligence, so if your child was injured despite being harnessed in a proper car seat and you believe that a design or manufacturing defect could have caused his or her injuries, it is important to speak with an experienced car accident attorney who can explain your legal options.
Types of Car Seats
Using the right car seat can be instrumental in protecting children from serious injury or death in collisions. However, the effectiveness of these safety measures depends on ensuring that a child uses the proper car seat, of which there are three main types, each of which is intended to accommodate the developmental stages of a child’s life. For this reason, each type of car seat, in addition to having protective features, also has its own specifications based on a child’s age, weight, and height.
Infant car seats, for example, are designed to be rear facing, which helps ensure that the crash force of a collision will be distributed across the shell of the car seat rather than the child’s head, neck, or spine. Convertible car seats, on the other hand, can be used to accommodate rear facing infants, but can also be used as a forward facing seat once a child has exceeded his or her height and weight limits. When a child has outgrown a convertible seat, he or she should start using a booster seat, which keeps a child’s knees from bending at the edge of the regular back seat cushion.
Even when a child uses the proper car seat for his height and weight, the car seat must still be installed correctly to properly protect its occupant. In fact, research indicates that the proper installation of a car seat decreases the risk of a child’s injury or death by as much as 70 percent. Unfortunately, the CDC also estimates that as many as 59 percent of all car seats are misused.
Even though car seat manufacturers are required to test their products thoroughly, to refrain from using certain types of materials during production, and to provide adequate warnings and instructions to consumers, many fail to do so. Fortunately, when this occurs, injured parties can hold the at-fault company or individual liable for damages compensating them for lost wages, property damage, and medical bills. Even if the manufacturer was not at fault for an accident, the injured party could still recover compensation from the motorist who caused the accident.
Call Today for Legal Assistance
If your child was injured in an accident despite being properly restrained in a car seat, please contact the dedicated Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorneys at Boone & Davis by calling 954-566-9919 today.