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How to Keep Your Young Child Safe While Riding in the Car

 Posted on October 13, 2020 in Personal Injury

Grand Rapids personal injury attorney car accident

As the winter holiday season approaches, many families will be taking to the roads to visit loved ones and join in annual celebrations. For parents with young children, one of the most important items they will have in their vehicles is the child safety seat on which they depend to keep their little ones safe in the event of a car accident. Unfortunately, however, national statistics reveal that four out of every five safety seats on the road are not being used correctly, leaving tiny occupants at risk for serious injury or death.

Seat Base Too Loose

Among the most common mistakes that parents make when installing child safety seats is not making the base of the seat tight enough. A good test to see if the base is installed properly is to grab the base on both sides—in the areas where the seat belt is looped through—and try to move it. The base should not budge more than one inch on either side or when being pulled forward. If the base moves, it is not installed correctly. Car seat safety inspectors recommend placing your knee on the base and putting your weight on it while tightening the seat belt. If you are installing an infant seat, use your elbow during this step. When the belt is as tight as it can go, it is critical to make sure the seat belt locks. This is another step many parents forget, which can have tragic consequences in the event of a collision with another vehicle.

Harness Straps

Another common error many parents make is that they do not have the child’s harness belt tight enough. A harness that is too loose can cause a child to be propelled out of a seat in the event of a crash. You should not be able to pinch any harness of the belt between your fingers. Parents should make sure the straps are snug and have no slack at all. In cold weather, many experts recommend removing the child’s winter jacket before securing the harness to ensure a proper fit. The harness should be snug to your child’s body, not the outside of his or her coat.

Many parents also put the harness straps through the incorrect slots. When a seat is used in the rear-facing position, the straps should be placed through the lower slots. Once the seat is turned and is used forward-facing, the upper slots are the only ones that should be used. Putting the harness through the lower slots could result in the straps breaking in an accident.

Infant Seat Errors

There are several common mistakes parents make when using infant seats. The first is turning the seat in a forward-facing position too soon. A child who weighs less than 20 pounds should not be faced forward, even if he or she is over 1 year old. When facing the rear, infant seats should also be installed at a 45-degree angle. Most seats have an adjustable level that can tell you if the angle is correct.

Speak With a Kent County Car Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, no matter how safe we think we are keeping our family, there is always the risk of another driver failing to operate his or her vehicle in a responsible manner. If you or your child has been injured in a crash, contact an experienced Grand Rapids personal injury attorney at the offices of John D. Tallman, Attorney at Law. Call 616-361-8850 to arrange a free consultation regarding your case today.  





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