As a Dallas-Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer, I know that that car accidents are the number one cause of death among children aged 1 to 12 years old in Texas. Appropriately enough, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently running its new Child Passenger Safety Campaign to encourage proper car seat and safety belt usage among kids. Here are some simple tips to make sure your son or daughter is correctly and safety secured within your vehicle:
Choosing and Installing the Right Seat
Child seat manufacturers are required to clearly label seats with the recommended weight limits. Keep your child in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible – and always make your child ride in the back seat until 12 years of age. Make sure you follow the installation instructions for the seat and use the LATCH system.
Make Sure They’re Strapped in Tightly
Many parents worry that the harness holding their child into the car seat is too tight or uncomfortable, however, the hardness is supposed to be snug and hold the child in place. The hardness should tight tightly over their shoulders and be snug enough that there is no slack. It should never be allowed to slip down off your child’s shoulders as this will not give them the security they need if you ever wind up in a wreck.
Get a Professional to Inspect Your Child’s Seat
Installing car seats is a tricky business, so it’s often worth the peace of mind of having a trained professional check over your handiwork to make sure that your child’s car seat is properly installed and that the hardness is correctly adjusted to be both comfortable and secure. For a list of NHTSA-approved child car safety seat inspection stations in North Texas, please click here.
Of course, it’s not just children who need to be safely buckled up when they’re riding in a car; according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), roughly 44% of people killed in motor vehicle fatalities in 2010 were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision. Wearing a safety belt is not just about avoiding a ticket if a cop pulls you over. Click it or you risk being seriously injured.