Having a child seat that is properly installed in a vehicle is so important that some hospitals cooperate with outside agencies to help new parents safely install infant restraint systems in their vehicles before they leave the hospital with new babies.
Parents who fail to restrain their infants and toddlers in appropriate car seats could face citations or sometimes even prosecution if a crash occurs with a tragic outcome. Given that crashes are a leading cause of death for infants and young children, the proper use of car seats is an important safety step for any concerned parent. These are a few things that adults need to know about car seats for their children.
Rear-facing seats are the best for newborns
Young children who are not yet ambulatory have very little motor control, and they could suffer catastrophic injuries in a car crash in a forward-facing car seat. Rear-facing car seats are typically the best option for newborns for the first few months of life. Many safety systems will keep children rear-facing until they are toddlers. Older children may use convertible or forward-facing seats, and those at preschool age and in grade school often require booster seats.
Proper installation is a challenge
There’s a reason that medical facilities help new parents install car seats, and it isn’t just the sleep deprivation that comes from labor, delivery and caring for a newborn. Many people find the installation process confusing or tricky and make mistakes that mean that a car seat won’t keep their child secure if a crash occurs. Parents may also face personal responsibility in scenarios where it appears they improperly installed child restraint systems in their vehicles.
Not all car seats and vehicles are actually safe
A surprising number of vehicles have design defects that make them less safe for certain people. For example, there was recently a massive recall involving hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the United States specifically because the anchor systems that connected to child safety seats were defective. There have also been actual restraints that have proven to be dangerous due to poor design or mistakes in the manufacturing process. Parents who do their best to install and consistently appropriate restraints could still lose a member of their family or need to provide care for an injured child indefinitely because of detective design and other product liability issues.
Pursuing a claim against a vehicle or child seat manufacturer can be one way for those affected by a car crash that injured a child to seek economic justice. Seeking legal guidance to determine if this course of action is warranted – given your family’s unique circumstances – is a good idea if you’re ever involved in an injurious crash.