Proper Use of Child Safety Restraint Systems Provides Necessary Protection to Children


January 06, 2013

Motor vehicles transport a wide range of cargo, but parents typically regard their children as the most precious cargo. Our Georgia car accident lawyers understand that small children and babies who are not properly secured in a child safety restraint system face a particularly high risk of suffering serious injury in any accident.

A multitude of federal regulatory safety agencies, including the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Child Passenger Safety Board have indicated that many parents still secure their kids in a vehicle with nothing more than a lap belt and/or shoulder harness.

Every state, including Georgia, has laws that make car seats mandatory for children under the age of five and virtually every state requires the use of booster seats for children that have outgrown car seats but are not big enough to rely solely on seatbelts. These laws require parents to use child safety restraint systems on every trip, no matter how brief.

Evidence of the effectiveness of child safety restraints in preventing injury and reducing the severity of injury in motor vehicle collisions is well-established. Studies reveal that car seats are 71 percent effective in preventing fatalities for children younger than 1 year of age. Car seats are nearly 55 percent in protecting children ages 1-4 from traffic-related fatalities.

Seat belts are inadequate for young children because their improper fit does not provide sufficient protection in a collision for those of diminutive size. Seat belts are designed for those who are 4’ 9” or taller. After a child has grown too big for the five-point safety harness based on the child’s height, Georgia law requires use of a booster seat. The booster seat law requires that these safety devices be employed to secure all kids under the age of eight unless the child is at least 4’ 9” tall.

Booster seats lift a child up off the seat so that the shoulder belt fits across the chest and shoulder of a child rather than the neck area. These safety devices also reposition the lap belt for small children so that they fit over the thigh bones and hip of kids rather than across their stomach. When children use booster seats, this form of safety equipment is 59 percent effective in preventing injury in a car crash.

The most prudent parent who exercises extreme car when transporting his or her children can still become the victim of a negligent driver who is speeding, driving drunk, using a cell phone or running a stoplight. Approximately, 1,300 children die in car accidents, and another 180,000 suffer injury each year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many car seats and booster seats do not fit properly with certain models of vehicles. Almost 70 percent of all child safety restraint systems are not installed properly, which compromises the level of protection they provide. Many child safety experts recommend having your child safety seat inspected.

If you or your child has been injured in an auto collision, our Georgia car accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.