We all remember the day we took our first child home from the hospital, strapping him in gently and driving as slowly as possible home. These days, after a few years and maybe another child thrown into the mix, we have the drill down to a science. Pop the baby’s carrier seat into its base and strap the toddler into her forward-facing booster, and voila—ready to go.

If you are ever involved in an accident with your children in the car, you would like to know that you have taken every possible step to protect them. Unfortunately, a majority of children traveling in cars today are in an improper seat for their size, which could put them at much greater risk for injury or death.

Better Research & Technology Has Led to Safer Car Seat Choices

From birth through at least age 12, children’s bodies are constantly changing and growing. At each major developmental stage, babies, toddlers, and small children have ever-evolving needs, which includes how they are protected in the event of a crash.

Seatbelts are designed to protect adults, whose bones have strengthened and hardened. The belt crosses over our strongest and most central points—the pelvis and sternum—and together these work to absorb impact forces. When smaller children sit without a booster seat, the seatbelt may hit them in far more vulnerable points, such as the stomach and neck. A booster seat positions children so that the seatbelt restrains them at their strongest points, preventing unnecessary injury. Boosters are slowly becoming more popular, but are still catching on for parents with children in the five-to-tween age group.

For toddlers and small children, forward-facing car seats are the safest option. Typically found with five-point restraint harness, this seat secures the child against the seat and prevents whiplash in the event of an impact. These seats are what most people think of when they hear “car seat,” and it is important that you do not transition your young babies into these seats too early.

For very small infants whose skeletons are still very fragile, rear-facing car seats with five-point harnesses offer the most protection. Rather than restraining the infant, a rear-facing car seat supports and cradles the body during a crash. This prevents dangerous neck and spinal injuries that could otherwise occur in even minor crashes.

Put Safety First

Remember, even the safest car seat in the world cannot protect your child if it is installed incorrectly. Local police and fire stations offer assistance with and verification of proper car seat installation; go check out your local station to double-check your own handiwork!

If you have been in a crash that has injured your child, my firm can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve to assist with your child’s recovery. Contact me today to schedule your free consultation by phone or by opening a live chat now.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer