Car accidents are the top cause of childhood injuries and death in this country. In South Carolina, this percentage is higher than the average in other states. To keep children safer, properly used car seats are the best place to start. When used correctly, car seats may reduce the risk of death by over 50 percent for infants and toddlers.
Unfortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that four out of five car seats in use in this country are not installed correctly.
Car Seat Inspection Stations
Many organizations are working to educate the public about car seat safety. Founded in 1988, Safe Kids Worldwide has helped reduce U.S. childhood deaths from unintended injuries. They are now part of the Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy. With financial backing from retail giant Kohl’s, they have created 10 car seat inspection stations that are staffed by certified technicians.
One such inspection station opened in April 2018 at Greenville Memorial Hospital; it is the first that is based at a South Carolina hospital. The GHS Children’s Hospital Medical Director said that every infant will have the opportunity to travel “safely in an inspected car seat before they are discharged from the hospital.” These stations give parents and caregivers the car seat education they need to keep their children safer for life.
Car Seats and How to Use Them
The first step in car seat safety is choosing the right one. All children under age one should be in a rear-facing car seat that is in the back seat of the vehicle. Height and weight limits from the seat’s manufacturer should be adhered to, and the seat used until the child outgrows it. Afterwards, it should be replaced by a forward-facing car seat with a harness that sits in the back seat.
Again, the child should ride in this seat until they outgrow it, according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Then it is time for a booster seat, also kept in the back seat. This must be used until he or she has grown enough to use a regular seat belt.
All children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat, because it is safer there. A seat belt should lie across the child’s upper thighs and be snug across the shoulder and chest, in order to restrain the child safely, in the event of a wreck. The seat belt should not rest on the stomach area or across the neck.
All car seats should be installed according to the manufacturer’s manual. If the caregiver is uncertain, they should visit a car seat inspection station. Most importantly, a car seat should be installed properly before it is ever used. Oftentimes car seats are handed down and are not in good working order. They should be checked frequently, and adjusted if needed, while they are being used.
A car seat must be replaced if the vehicle was involved in an accident. And whether a driver or passenger, parents should set a good example by always wearing their own seat belts.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Car Accident Victims
If you or your child has been injured in a car crash, contact the Columbia car accident lawyers of Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for a free case evaluation. Our experienced team can guide you through the legal process and help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call 803-929-3600 or toll free at 866-881-8623 to schedule a free consultation at one of our six offices.
We serve clients throughout South Carolina, including the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.