Kids are going to slip, fall, and suffer injuries as a result of learning how to walk and exploring their boundaries. Unfortunately, parents cannot always protect their children from being injured; however, parents can help protect their kids from suffering serious injuries in a car crash by ensuring they have the right car seats and they are strapped in correctly.

In light of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Child Passenger Safety Week from September 14-17, 2014, and September’s National Baby Safety Month sponsored by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, we would like to take this opportunity to discuss child passenger safety. Sadly, car accidents in Florida and nationwide are still the leading killer of children from one to 13 years of age.

While some traffic deaths and injuries aren’t preventable or under a parent’s control, many child-related car crash injuries and fatalities could have been prevented if car seats, boosters, and seat belts were used correctly. For this reason, we encourage parents to get their kids’ car seats inspected on Saturday, September 20th during National Seat Check Saturday.

Is Your Son or Daughter in the Correct Car Seat?

There are many different types of car seats that it can be confusing for a new parent to know what to purchase and how to install a car seat properly. For example, there are car seats that use bases and those that don’t require a car seat base. There are car seats that face forwards and those that face backwards. Safety experts tend to agree that kids are the safest in the middle of the back seat. The general rule of thumb is that infants need to face the rear in rear-facing child safety seats, but toddlers can face the front in forward-facing child safety seats.

What Does Florida Law Have to Say About Child Passenger Safety?

In Florida, all infants that are one-year-old and younger and weigh 20 pounds or less must ride in a rear-facing child seat in the back seat of the car. The child seat needs to be a rear-facing child seat that holds the infant semi-upright at no more than 45 degrees. When the child surpasses age one and weighs more than 20 pounds, he or she can switch to a forward-facing car seat that sits upright; however, many safety experts believe that infants should stay facing the rear for as long as possible.

While Florida used to have some of the weakest child safety seat laws in the nation, new laws have been implemented this past year that now require children under the age of five to be properly restrained in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. For children under three years of age, they must be secured in a separate child safety seat. While it used to be that children age four and older could just be restrained by a seat belt, the new laws call for children ages four and five to use a booster seat so the lap and shoulder belts are correctly positioned. Generally, children who are between 40-80 pounds and are under 4’9” should ride in a booster seat.

To make sure your child is in the correct child safety seat in order to protect them from unnecessary harm in a Broward County car crash, contact your local fire department to find out where and when you can have your car seat inspected.

If your child has been injured in a crash due to no fault of your own, you should speak with an experienced accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale. Contact the Law Offices of David Benenfeld to learn about your rights at [number type=”2″] or [number type=”1″].