Child Car Seat Safety

As parents, we want our children to be as safe as possible. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009 motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of death for children under age 15. The statistics reflect 1,314 deaths and another 179,000 injuries. The CDC estimates that 50% of these deaths could have been prevented if the child was properly restrained inside the vehicle.

Most states, including North Carolina, have child safety laws on the books, including those on car seat safety. In North Carolina, drivers are responsible for all passengers under the age of 16 and should ensure that all passengers are properly restrained. The child safety law in North Carolina uses age and the weight of the child to determine when he or she no longer requires a car seat of some sort. But to be as safe a possible, parents must take into account how the standard lap and shoulder belt fits the individual child before removing the safety seat.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some sound advice for parents and caregivers who are transporting children. According to the AAP, children should ride in rear-facing car seats until they are 2 years old, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for the car seat. They may then be transferred to a forward-facing car seat with a harness. When the child outgrows this seat (usually between age 4 and 8), he or she will likely need a booster seat that positions the child properly relative to the lap and shoulder belt. This booster seat should be used until the lap and shoulder belt fits the child properly (usually after they reach 4’9” tall).

Safe Kids NC frequently hosts child safety seat checkup events where parents may have an expert verify that the car seat or booster seat is properly installed to ensure maximum safety. Most local police departments are also happy to check to ensure proper installation. The Raleigh Durham auto accident attorneys at Merritt Webb hope you take a few minutes to ensure your child restraints are properly installed so your child is as safe as possible.

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