In a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), it was concluded that nearly two children are killed in a car accident each day in the United States. Incorrect installation of car seats increases a child’s risk of serious injury and death in a car accident by up to 3.5 times. Shockingly, it is estimated that anywhere between 70-85% of the car seats used across the nation are critically misused. In fact, according to saferideforkids.com, 33% of children who die in a car crash were not restrained at all, and 43% were not “correctly restrained.”
What is Ohio’s Car Seat Law?
Ohio’s passenger safety law states to following:
- As of 2009, children in the state of Ohio are required to sit in seat belt-positioned booster seats until they are eight years old or until they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall.
- Children under the age of four or under 40 pounds are required to use a child safety seat that meets federal standards.
- Children who are 8-15 years of age are required to use a child safety seat or safety belt.
Why is This Law So Important?
Believe it or not, from 1999 to 2006, there were 34 children in Ohio aged four to seven years old that died in a motor vehicle accident. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children of that same age group according to the Office of Vital Statistics.
Researchers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate that nearly half of the children who are killed in motor vehicle accidents each year would have survived if car seats and seatbelts were used 100 percent of the time. It is also estimated that if a child is restrained with a booster seat and a seat belt rather than with just a seatbelt, their risk of sustaining an injury in a crash is reduced by 59%.
How to Install a Car Seat
It’s no fault of their own, but many parents are not aware of how to properly install their child’s car seat or that their child’s car seat is not the correct size. There are many steps that parents can take to ensure that they are installing their child’s car seat correctly according to the dmv.org:
- Read the instructions carefully – It is important that you not guess when installing a car seat. Read the seat’s instructions carefully and make sure you have a clear understanding of how to install it.
- Install car seats in the back seat – The back seat is always the safest place to install a car seat and for your children to ride.
- Reference your vehicle’s owner’s manual – Newer cars have anchors built into the seats so your car seat can be easily attached. Older cars may not have these anchors and may require that a seatbelt be used to secure the car seat.
- Lock seat belts – If you own a vehicle that does not have lower anchors, your owner’s manual will tell you how to lock a seat belt once it is in place.
- Secure the seat tightly – once you have the car seat in place, wiggle it side to side and make sure that it does not move more than one inch in any direction. If it moves more than this, you will need to reinstall it.
- Adjust your seat recline – In the case of rear-facing car seats, it is important that the base of the car seat is level to prevent your child’s head from being too far forward. Many seats have indicators on the side to assist you with this.
- Connect the tether strap – Forward-facing car seats have a strap at the top as an extra safety measure. Make sure that you connect this tether strap and tighten it as much as possible to help prevent head movement in a crash.
Common Injuries Children Sustain in Car Accidents
Car accidents can result in serious injuries for those involved no matter what age, height, and weight some may be. However, small children and infants are much more likely to be seriously injured in a car accident. Some common injuries sustained by children in car accidents can include but are not limited to:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries (TBI)
- Strap burn
- Broken bones
- Airbag injuries
- Internal organ damage
The best way to minimize your child’s chances of sustaining one of the injuries above is to secure them properly in a car seat that is adequate for the height, weight, and age. Accidents are never expected, but you can take the proper steps to ensuring you and your child are prepared and safe in case one does occur.
Contact The Ohio Car Accident Lawyers at Colombo Law For Help
At Colombo Law, we are very concerned about the safety of the children throughout this great state of Ohio. The families throughout this state are important to us, and we want to make sure they are safe. If you have a young child, we urge you to be extra careful and take all of the necessary steps to ensuring the safety of your child while they are in the car with you. Together, we can take the steps necessary to reduce the number of children’s lives that are cut entirely too short due to car accidents in Ohio. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Colombo Law so we can help you pursue legal action.