Would you spend $15 to save your child’s life? Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3-14, child booster seats save lives, and a safety-rated booster seat costs less than a pair of cheap shoes or a video game. Yet many parents either do not purchase approved child seats or don’t enforce their use. A child that, from infancy, has become accustomed to using a well-fitting restraint system, will automatically jump into the booster seat and buckle up. Make this simple commitment to your child’s safety from the first trip home from the hospital.
How long should a child be in a booster seat? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now recommends parents use a child booster seat until the child is 13 years old, large enough to fit in an adult seat belt properly. A properly fitting seat belt will lie across the child’s thighs, not abdomen, and the shoulder belt will be snug across the middle of the shoulder without touching the neck. A safe booster seat will achieve that correct fit, not just raise the child to a more comfortable level.
Not all booster seats sold are safe! When selecting a booster seat, it is important to do your research. A recent study by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that many booster seats tested failed to provide the proper fit for a typical four- to eight-year-old child. Surprisingly, price is not a factor. One model that passed the test retails for less than $15, while models retailing for more than $50 failed. In addition to the fit test, the institute performs crash tests using a dummy the size of an average six-year-old. The IIHS website provides booster seat safety ratings by model number and manufacturer.
Reports indicate that use of child booster seats as opposed to adult seat belt systems reduce injuries in crashes by up to 45 percent. Is a poorly fitting adult seat belt better than no restraint at all? An adult belt may save the child’s life, but at a cost. In the event of a crash, the improperly positioned belt may prevent the child from being ejected from the vehicle. The force of the crash may, however, crush the child into the belt, causing internal injuries or spinal cord damage where the belt crosses the abdomen or neck. There is no question that many children, particularly those with small frames, belong in booster seats until age 12.
The best measures do not always prevent tragedy. Defective child seats have on occasion failed to protect their precious cargo. More than 15 million car seats have been recalled in recent years, and the NHTSA reports hundreds of serious injuries and deaths resulting from child seat failure. Sadly, manufacturers are slow to accept responsibility for harm caused by defective products, and a family experiencing such a tragedy may have to rely on a personal injury attorney to resolve the issue fairly.
If you’ve been injured, it is very important that you contact a personal injury attorney from Bailey & Galyen immediately to preserve the evidence and protect your rights. The first consultation is always FREE with no further obligation and our phones are answered 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.