As a personal injury attorney, every day I represent innocent prudent drivers that were hurt by the negligence of another. Quite frankly, during depositions, I have heard every possible excuse available from negligent drivers for causing an accident. Someone even once used the excuse that a cockroach was crawling up his leg!
Sadly, many times I have had the duty of representing innocent children that have been injured by negligent drivers. As the proud parent of a 3 year old, I have to travel daily with my daughter in my vehicle. Honestly, this scares me to the core, despite feeling very confident in my driving abilities. Folks, the bottom line is even though you are a prudent driver, the person driving next to you may not be. As such, your precious cargo may be in danger.
According to the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration, "Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for (children) ages 3 to 14 (based on 2006 figures, which are the latest mortality data currently available from the National Center for Health Statistics)." Furthermore, every day in the United States, about four children under age 14 were killed, and 529 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. With this in mind, we need to take every safety precaution available when traveling with children on the roads.
According to the NHTA seating recommendations for children:
- Birth – 12 months: Children under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat.
- 1 – 3 years: Keep children rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep them safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
- 4– 7 years: Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat – but still in the backseat.
- 8 – 12 years: Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seatbelt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest, and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the backseat because it’s safer there.
For further information please visit the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration’s website for numerous life saving tips. http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS