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These car seat safety tips make travel safer for children

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car crashes are one of the top causes of death among children, in part because vehicle restraints don’t always work properly for small bodies. The design standards for automotive companies focus on the average-sized adult male. Therefore, seat belts that could save an adult’s life could fail to work properly when the passenger in a vehicle is a minor.

Choosing the right car seat is important for the protection of young passengers. Front-facing car seats with five-point restraints, rear-facing car seats and booster seats are all appropriate for children of different ages. After a parent has selected the appropriate type of car seat, they may want to follow the safety tips outlined below to ensure that the car seat does its job, should a crash occur.

Learn about installation

Parents may fail to clip anchor hooks into the trunk or to properly thread an existing safety belt through the underside of the car seat base. The result of those seemingly minor oversights is that the car seat may not remain in place during a crash, which could have tragic consequences. Many fire departments and hospitals provide assistance for new parents who are unsure of how to appropriately install a car seat. Ensuring proper installation every time families move a car seat from one vehicle to another or reposition it in the backseat is crucial for the functionality of the car seat.

Replace seats after crashes

Given that car seats are primarily made of plastic, they are unreliable after their involvement in a single collision. Parents should typically operate under the assumption that the car seat is no longer safe to use after even a low-speed collision. Adults me also need to replace car seats that are six years of age or older because of how plastic becomes brittle with age. Families with multiple children may need to repurchase rear-facing seats when the one they have used for years without a collision becomes too old.

Insist on consistent use

The older children become, the more irritating they may find car seats and booster seats. A four-year-old in a forward-facing car seat may resent sitting in a different type of seat than their older sibling who uses a booster seat. A grade-school student still riding in a booster seat might become angry because they claim their classmates don’t have to use a booster. Even if consistently using car seats and booster seats leads to conflict every time the family enters the car, parents need to stand their ground and insist that a child use the booster seat or car seat that is appropriate for them uneven the shortest of trips on public roads.

Parents who take an informed approach to car seats can potentially protect the lives of their children should a motor vehicle collision occur. Learning more about appropriate safety measures for young passengers can benefit parents and the children in their care.