Cars are one of the leading causes of injury to minors and children. From infancy, children and infants are driven around in cars, and this does put them at risk for serious injuries in car accidents. Across the US, car accidents are the leading cause of fatalities for children in the 3-14 age group. Unfortunately, young children are less protected by adult safety belts and air bags – in fact, these devices can seriously harm a child. Children are also more likely to suffer serious injuries in a Miami car accident, since child-aged Miami brain injury victims and spinal cord injury victims, for example, may take longer to heal and may face more complications. Since children are smaller and more vulnerable, they may suffer more serious injuries.
Adult safety devices such as airbags and seatbelts may pose a hazard to young children, there is much evidence that age-appropriate restrains save lives. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), child restraints have saved approximately 8959 between 1975 and 2008.
It is important to select a car seat or age-appropriate safety restraint system by considering your child’s weight, age, and height. Age alone may not determine the right restraint, since children may grow at different rates. A child that is large for their size, for example, may need to get a restraint for an older child. If you need help choosing a restraint that is right for your child, the NHTSA website has many useful resources that can help.
Once you find the right car seat for your child, consult your car owner’s manual or the seat manufacturer’s directions for the proper use and installation of the car seat. Failure to use the car seat as directed can result in injuries for your child. For as long as possible, keep young children in a car seat – until they no longer fit the weight and height requirement for the seat. As well, once you have a child car seat, make certain that you check often for defects and recalls. You can register the car seat online – often with the manufacturer of the seat – to receive instant notifications in case the product is ever recalled.
The restraint recommendations for your child will change over time. In general, you will want to keep babies in infant seats which are rear-facing. Toddlers are often safest in child safety seats that face forward. Once children are no longer toddlers, they are typically allowed to use a booster seat and to sit in the back using a regular seat belt. In general, children who are younger than 13 years of age should ride in the back seat. According to the NHTSA, this is the safest place for your child to be in the event of a Miami car accident. Florida is one of only four states that does not have a booster seat law, but parents can still choose to use a booster seat for their children. In the event of a Miami traffic accident, a booster seat can ensure that an adult seat belt does not cut into your child’s neck or face, causing serious injuries.