All California drivers hope to avoid a collision, but perhaps no one is more concerned about a car accident than a loving parent carrying their young child or children as passengers. Fortunately, proper adherence to car seat laws and safety standards can increase survival rates from accidents a great deal. Here are some helpful tips to ensure car seats do their job in the case of an accident:
- Find the safest location for the vehicle. Typically, this is the back middle seat; however, make sure the middle seat can accommodate the car seat. If not, either the left or right back seat are good options. In cars with only front seats, it is important to turn off the passenger seat airbags or place the child in the middle if there are side-impact airbags that could deploy.
- Stay rear facing as long as safely possible. Pediatricians say that switching children to front-facing too early is often the most common health and safety error seen at well-child checks.
- No extras. Add-on cushioning might seem cozy, but it can impact how the manufacturer intended the car seat to react in a collision, potentially causing suffocation or another issue. Toys may also become projectiles in the case of an accident, injuring a child. Another “extra” to remove any puffy coats the children may be wearing, as these can make it impossible to latch tightly enough.
In addition to the above, anyone driving with small children should ensure car seats are well-secured to the car, meaning they cannot be moved an inch or more to any side, and that children are securely harnessed into their seats. Reading the instructions from the car seat or speaking with an installation specialist can seem like time-consuming steps, but ultimately taking the time to do these things may help to prevent serious injury or death in case of a car accident. Individuals who have been in a car accident and have experienced injuries, or have loved ones that experienced injuries, may have legal recourse and should contact a California attorney for support.