Buckling your child into a safety seat is one of the best ways to keep your little one safe in the event you are involved in a car crash. Sadly, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children, so parents and caregivers should do everything they can to ensure that the appropriate safety seats are installed and used following the manufacturer’s directions.
Just buckling your child into a seat isn’t enough. Below are five tips for parents and caregivers to follow to help ensure their babies and children are as safe as can be:
- Use a safety seat – every time. No matter the age of your child, if the law requires that he or she be buckled into a child safety seat or a booster seat, make sure that you use one every time you get into the car.
- Read the manufacturer’s safety instructions – for your vehicle and for the safety seat. It is shocking but true: 80 percent of all care seats are installed incorrectly. Car seats should not be installed or used until the car seat instructions have been read thoroughly. In addition, make sure you read the relevant section of your vehicle’s manual too. Some cars and trucks have restrictions on where a car seat can be placed or a weight limit for LATCH or other safety devices.
- Don’t move a child up to the next safety seat stage too soon. Parents are often eager to move an infant from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat, move a young child from a five-point harness to a booster seat, or move an older child from a booster to an adult seat belt. However, each move offers less protection to kids, so parents should delay as long as possible, while following the guidelines set forth in the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Install seats as tightly as possible. A tight install is key to safety seat functioning correctly in a crash. Parents should use either the vehicle’s seat belt or the LATCH system to install seats so they do not move more than one inch in any direction.
- Adjust the seat harness correctly. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for properly adjusting your safety seat’s harness. And keep an eye on your child as he or she continues to grow – you will have to adjust the seat straps to fit your child. Finally, make sure the chest clip is positioned at armpit level – fastening the clip too low is a very common mistake that parents make and could leave a child vulnerable in a crash.
Please read our other child safety seat articles:
- “What you need to know about the new Texas child safety seat laws”
- “Is your child really ready for an adult seat belt?”
For help after a Texas automobile accident, please contact the Houston based experienced personal injury attorneys VB Attorneys