On behalf of The Frickey Law Firm, posted on Thursday, October 4, 2012.
Having children onboard might curb an adult driver’s tendency to hurry or become distracted. These admirable practices are rendered useless when parents and caregivers dismiss the importance of proper child safety restraints.
Law enforcement and transportation officials across Colorado recently participated in National Child Passenger Safety Week. The event highlighted the correct use of child safety seats to prevent catastrophic injuries and child fatalities during motor vehicle accidents.
Vehicle accidents are the number one killer of U.S. children between ages one and 12, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sixty-four children, 12 and younger, died in traffic accidents in Colorado between 2006 and 2010. Fifty-five percent — more than half the kids who died — were restrained improperly or unprotected by a safety device.
The NHTSA suggests that children should remain in age and weight-specific safety restraints according to manufacturers’ directions. Trying to rush a child to a “next level” safety device may be unsafe.
Child Passenger Safety Technicians are certified to inspect child safety seat installations and make suggestions for parents who are uncertain which product is appropriate. All children, from infancy to age 12, should be riding in a back seat.
Rear-facing car seats are made for children up until age one, but age is only a guideline. A child’s body size is more important than a birthdate. A child should only move into a forward-facing seat after exceeding suggested maximum height or weight restrictions.
Children should make a transition to a booster seat only after outgrowing the front-facing seat. Age is also secondary when promoting a child from a booster seat to an adult seat belt. A regular seat belt must fit correctly for the safety device to be effective in preventing injuries or death.
No parent wants to be the negligent driver who is responsible for hurting their own child. Colorado State Patrol offers contact information for parents concerned about the correct use of child car seats.
Source: journal-advocate.com, “Child Passenger Safety Week raises car seat awareness,” Sept. 22, 2012