According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, placing young children in an age-appropriate car seat – in the rear seat of a car – rather than the front seat, “reduces fatal injury risk by about three-quarters for children up to age 3, and almost half for children ages 4 to 8.”
A basic car seat child-safety guide for parent
State laws vary on child restraint and who can sit in the front seat at what age, height, and weight, but parents should follow these general guidelines: (See this Online Sunshine web page for Florida child restraint requirements.)
- Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing child seat until they are at least 2 years of age.
- Toddlers and preschoolers who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit should occupy a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible.
- School-aged children who have outgrown the forward-facing harness seat should use a booster seat when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches and are 8 through 12 years of age.
- All children younger than 13 should always ride in the back seat and should always use lap and shoulder seat belts.
Recalled child car seats
Child car seat manufacturers are required by law to inform consumers of product recalls. To find out if a car seat is on the recall list, go to safecar.gov and search the manufacturer and model on the seat’s tag.
The safecar.gov website has a ten-year listing of child car seat recalls by 18 manufacturers. Manufacturing defects range from choking hazards to faulty designs, that allow the child to release harness clasps. One model, GRACO, manufactured between May and August of 2014 reports that “the child seat webbing may not adequately restrain the child in the event of an accident.”
If the seat is on the recall list do the following:
Have the following information ready:
- The Manufacturer’s Name
- The Model Number
- The Date of Manufacture
Call or visit the manufacturer’s website to verify the recall or call the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline toll-free at 1-888-327-4236. Use the safecar.gov website linked above to file a child seat complaint or register for an email notification if a newly purchased car seat makes a future recall list.
If a defective child car seat causes death or injury to a child
If you placed your child in a car seat and suspect it may have caused additional injuries, or, tragically, contributed to the death of your child during an accident, contact Ginnis & Krathen, P.A. No amount of money can compensate a distraught parent for the suffering or death of a child, but we want to help you make the responsible parties or entities pay for their actions and get you the reimbursement you deserve.