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Essential Guide to Child Car Safety

What Can You Do to Keep Your Children Safe on the Road? Find Out from the Injury Lawyers at Searcy Denney

As a parent, nothing matters more than keeping your children safe. But, this is often easier said than done. This is especially true when it comes to driving on Florida’s roads. No matter how safely you drive, there are numerous risks that are beyond your control; and, every day, parents across Florida find themselves struggling to cope with the physical, emotional and financial tolls of their children being seriously injured in car accidents.

With this in mind, what can (and should) you do to protect your children as much as possible? Find out in this Essential Guide to Child Car Safety from the injury lawyers at Searcy Denney.

Q&A with the Injury Lawyers at Searcy Denney

We’ll begin by answering some of the most common questions about child car safety. Whether you are a new parent, your child is growing, or you have questions or concerns about letting your child ride with someone else, here’s what you need to know:

What Are Some of the Most Common Causes of Child Injuries During Car Accidents?

Broadly speaking, the leading causes of car accident injuries are the same for children and adults. Most car accidents result from driver negligence; and, even in low-speed collisions, the forces involved can be more than enough to cause various types of injuries. Thus, some of the most common causes of child injuries during car accidents include driving mistakes such as:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving while texting, talking on the phone, or scrolling social media
  • Speeding, weaving through traffic, running red lights, and other forms of aggressive driving
  • Turning or merging without checking for oncoming traffic
  • Backing out of driveways and parking spaces without looking

Along with driver-related causes of child injuries, vehicle-related issues can be to blame for children’s accident-related injuries in some cases as well. Brake failures, self-driving technology failures, tire blowouts, and other similar types of issues can leave parents (and other drivers) helpless to avoid a dangerous collision.

Where is the Safest Place for Children to Ride in a Car?

The back seat is generally the safest place for children to ride. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that children ride in the back seat until at least age 12.

While there are a few reasons why, the primary reason has to do with the risk of airbag deployment. Frontal airbags in modern cars are designed to protect adult passengers who are sitting a safe distance away from the dashboard. For children, the force of frontal airbag deployment can be dangerous (it can be dangerous for adults in some cases as well), particularly if they are sitting with the seat slid forward so that their seatbelt fits properly.

When is it Safe for Children to Ride in the Front Seat?

With this in mind, when is it safe for children to ride in the front seat? While the NHTSA says that children can sit in the front seat starting at age 12, whether it is safe for a child to sit in the front seat ultimately depends on the child’s height, weight and stage of development. When in doubt, it is always best to have your children ride in the back seat—buckled in and sitting in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat, if necessary.

If your car doesn’t have a back seat and your only option is to have your child ride in the front seat next to you, then you may need to disable your vehicle’s passenger seat airbags. You should check your vehicle manufacturer’s (and your child’s safety seat or booster seat manufacturer’s) recommendations, or seek professional advice if you have any questions or concerns.

What Type of Child Car Seat Should I Buy?

There are lots of child car seats on the market, and some of them are better than others. When choosing a car seat for your child, the first step is to make sure you are choosing the right type of car seat—either rear-facing, forward-facing or a booster—based on your child’s age or height.

Any car seat you choose should be certified to meet Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) standards. If a car seat is certified, this should be clearly stated on the box. To choose between brands and models, you can read about individual car seats’ specific safety and comfort features, and you can talk to friends or family members who have children. Doing some research online is a good idea, too, and you can check the NHTSA’s website to see if a child safety seat has been recalled.

Do I Need to Disable My Car’s Airbags to Protect My Child?

If your child will be riding in the front seat, disabling your car’s front passenger airbag may be the safest option. Again, you should check with the manufacturer, and seek advice if necessary. The NHTSA generally does not recommend disabling rear seat side-impact or curtain airbags—although, here too, you should seek out information that is specific to your vehicle if you have questions or concerns.

Should I Let My Child Ride with Another Driver?

When it comes to child car safety, one of the most stressful decisions many parents need to make is whether they should let their child ride with another driver. Ultimately, this is up to you. If you trust a driver to follow the rules of the road and drive as safely as possible (and there is an appropriate child safety seat available), then you may choose to let your child ride with someone else. But, before letting your children ride with someone else, don’t hesitate to ask questions and set expectations—and don’t be afraid not to let your children ride if you have concerns for any reason.

What Can I Do to Minimize My Child’s Risk of Being Injured in the Event of a Car Accident?

Minimizing your child’s risk of being injured in a car accident involves making sure your child is properly seated and belted—with frontal airbags disabled if necessary. If you take the necessary steps to ensure that your child is as safe as possible inside of the vehicle, you can feel confident that you have done everything necessary to minimize your child’s injury risk in the event of a collision.

Of course, safe driving also plays an important role. Driving too fast, making dangerous maneuvers and driving while distracted can all increase your child’s risk of suffering serious injuries in a crash. Parents (like other drivers) should always observe the rules of the road, and this is why it is important to make an informed decision about whether you let your child ride with someone else as well.

Top 5 Tips for Child Car Safety

As a parent, what can you do to make sure your children are as safe as possible on the road? Here are our injury lawyers top five tips for child car safety:

  • Choose a Safety Seat or Booster Seat Appropriate for Your Child’s Height – Parents should always choose a safety seat or booster seat that is appropriate for their child’s height.
  • Make Sure Your Children Are Securely Buckled In – Children should be buckled in for every ride, and parents should ensure that their children’s seatbelts fit correctly.
  • Avoid Driving in High-Risk Conditions (if Possible) – Sometimes, the safest decision is to stay home. Driving in bad weather or driving late at night can be much more dangerous than driving in ideal conditions.
  • Keep a Lookout for Dangerous Drivers – Any time you are driving, it is important to keep a lookout for dangerous drivers. If you see someone driving dangerously, it is best to keep away if possible.
  • When in Doubt, Err on the Side of Safety – In general, erring on the side of safety is one of the best things you can do to minimize the risk of your child being injured in a car accident.

What Should I Do if My Child Gets Injured in a Car Accident?

Unfortunately, no matter how much we do to keep our children safe, we cannot protect them completely. If your child gets injured in a car accident, getting help should be your first priority. You should make sure your child receives the medical treatment he or she needs, and you should discuss your family’s legal rights with an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible. Talking to an injury lawyer costs nothing out of pocket, and you don’t pay anything unless your family recovers just compensation.

Contact the Injury Lawyers at Searcy Denney for Free

If you need to speak with an injury lawyer about seeking just compensation for injuries your child sustained in a Florida car accident, we invite you to get in touch. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a lawyer at Searcy Denney, call us at 800-780-8607 or tell us how we can reach you online today.

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Posted By: Samantha Saundry