Every parent wants to do what is best for their child and to ensure their child is safe, secure, and protected from the harms that live in the world. At times, this might mean protecting a child from falling when she stumbles or making sure he always holds an adult’s hand when crossing the street. When it comes to riding in a car, it means selecting a car seat that will keep a child safe in the tragic event that a car accident takes place.
Car seats are a requirement under the laws of Illinois which mandate that all children under eight years old be secured in a car seat. But the laws do not specify which car seat, or even which style, must be used, leaving it up to parents to make those critical decisions. A variety of car seats are on the market and can give parents a range of choices from which to decide but also create the possibility that parents will make the wrong choice, select the wrong seat, or even use it in an improper or faulty manner.
There are numerous places in and around Chicago that offer free safety checks for children’s car seats to ensure that parents are using the right kind of seat and in the right manner to keep their children as safe as possible yet the organizations that offer such checks routinely report that only a small proportion of the city’s parents take advantage of the free car seat review.
The state of New York was concerned about the use of children’s safety seats and recently began inspections this fall. Overall, 931 car seats were checked but according to officials, only 112 of those seats were installed properly – merely 12 percent of the car seats reviewed. The issue is important as experts report that 96 percent of American parents believe they have installed a child safety seat correctly but that nearly 70 percent of those parents are incorrect.
Though that recent review occurred in New York, similar results have been noticed in Chicago and across Illinois. In some cases, an improperly installed car seat is caught at an inspection or in another safe environment, but tragically, other issues with car seats are not identified until after a car accident takes place.
One of the biggest issues surrounding the use and installation of car seats is using an improper seat based on a child’s size. Different types of seats are designed for children at different stages of their lives and therefore parents should be mindful of height, weight, and age requirements as they apply to a child safety seat. Once a child outgrows the limits of a car seat, parents should move them to an appropriate restraint device whether that is another seat or a booster. Further, children should be kept rear-facing in the back seat until they are two years old or until they outgrow the height and weight requirements of a rear-facing car seat. No rear-facing car seat should ever be placed near a forward air bag and regardless of their age, children should always be restrained in the back seat of a car. If if you are involved in a collision, make sure you have your child’s car seat reviewed by a safety expert before using it again. Often, car seats must be replaced following a crash even if there is no visible damage to the seat itself.
The installation of a car seat is one, but not the only, area where misuse can occur. Additionally, parents often leave the restraining straps of a seat too loose or have the straps adjusted to an improper position which limits a seat’s effectiveness should a crash take place. Other problems may occur if a seat is not reclined to an appropriate angle, if proper head cushioning is not used, or if a child’s limbs extend too far beyond a seat’s boundaries.
If your child was involved in a car accident and was injured as a result, know that both you and your child may be entitled to legal relief for the damages done in that collision, and working with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand that possible relief. The personal injury law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C. has helped many families over the years obtain the relief they deserve following a car accident and we are ready to help you as well if your family was affected by a crash.
For your convenience, we have a licensed lawyer available to take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575. If you call us, you will be offered a case consultation about your accident without any cost to you or any obligation on your part. Further, if we represent you, we will never charge you a fee unless we are successful on your behalf and we will advance all case-related expenses so that you can get the assistance you need without having to worry about the financial toll it may enact.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we believe in helping victims of Chicago car accidents. If we can help you, call us today or contact us online and let us fight for your right to relief.
Prior Blog Entry:
Rear-End Car Accidents are the Most Common Collisions in the Country, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published October 19, 2015.
Parents Flunk Child Car Seat Safety Checks, Claims Journal, published November 9, 2015.