Tampa Personal Injury Accident Attorneys | Capaz Law Firm

Schools are out for the summer, and it’s almost time for a summer road trip with the family. Before packing up the SUV and heading out on the road, one of the most important things to do is to ensure that there are sufficient seatbelts and properly installed car seats for your children.

Many individuals mistakenly believe that driving in large cars or SUVs offer greater protection. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 50% of the individuals killed in car crashes are not restrained by a proper seat belt (regardless of the size of the vehicle). Thus, it is always important to properly restrain your children.

Guidelines to Keep Children Safe

Children under 12 months of age should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. Studies show that, in a car crash, the harness of the rear-facing seat cradles and moves with the young child to reduce the stress to his or her fragile neck and spinal cord. Another option to consider with rear-facing seats is use of a system called Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) or using a regular seat belt. Both are equally safe when used properly. Lastly, it is important to keep a record of the seat’s model, serial number, and manufacture date in event of recalls.

Children between 1 to 3 years of age should remain in a rear-facing seat until he or she reaches the car seat manufacturer’s top height or weight limit. Once they reach that limit, the child should be placed in a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether that limits his or her forward movement in a crash.

Children between 4 to 7 years of age should remain in a forward-facing seat until he or she reaches the car set’s manufacturer’s top height or weight limit. Once they reach that limit, the child should be placed in a booster seat. When adjusting the booster seat, boost the child to a height that guarantees the seat belt suitably fits across his or her lap and shoulder. Most parents should consider keeping the booster seat around until the child is around the age of eight since most seat belts do not fit properly until the child is fifty-seven inches tall.

Children between 8 to 12 years of age should remain in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to properly use a seat belt. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and it should not cross the child’s neck or face. The lap belt should lie snug across the upper thighs and should not cross the child’s stomach.

Tampa Car Crash Lawyers | Capaz Law Firm

It is important to keep children under the age of 13 in the back seat since they are at risk of injury from airbags. At or around age 13, children are usually old enough to sit in the front seat. Parents need to constantly make sure their child or teen properly wears his or her seatbelt. It is highly common for young teens to tuck the seat belt behind their backs. This is a very hazardous risk, and parents should have a zero-tolerance policy for this bad habit.

In the event of a car accident, the single most effective way to prevent serious and/or fatal injuries to yourself and your loved ones is to buckle up. Please be safe when traveling with your family this summer. If you do become the unfortunate victim of a car accident, contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at the Capaz Law Firm. Call 813-440-2700 to schedule a consultation.