Of all the cargo you transport in your car or truck, your children are the most precious and irreplaceable. Unfortunately, children are also the most vulnerable to injuries or even death when they are in a motor vehicle accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), injuries are the leading cause of death for children in the United States, and motor vehicle crashes are the top causes of child injuries. But the good news is that you can help prevent your child from suffering a serious injury if you are in a crash by making sure your child is restrained in a proper car seat or booster seat with a seat belt.
Even though New Hampshire law doesn’t require adults to wear a seatbelt when driving, the law does state that children under the age of 18 must use a seat belt or car seat. Children aged seven and under and who are under 57 inches tall have to use a car seat or booster seat with a seat belt harness. Once a child is 57 inches tall (even if it’s before turning seven years old), the child can wear a seat belt. Children should always ride in the back seat of a vehicle until they are twelve years old.
Choosing a Car Seat
You will want to research car seat types and follow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommendations on which car seats are best for your child’s age and size. The most important thing to remember is to always buy a new car seat. Buying a new one ensures that it has never been compromised from being in a previous car crash or damaged from exposure to the sun. If a family can’t afford a new car seat, Safe Kids New Hampshire is a valuable resource that can help. If a friend or family member offers a used car seat to you, only accept it if you know its history.
Rear-facing car seats are recommended for birth to twelve months. There are some infant car seats that can only be used rear-facing, and there are convertible car seats that have higher weight and height limits that let you keep your child rear-facing beyond their first birthday. Once they outgrow the weight and height limits of their rear-facing seat, they can move into a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. And once they outgrow the limits of a forward-facing car seat, they can move into a booster seat until they are big enough to properly fit into seat belt.
When you buy a new car seat, be sure to register it with the manufacturer so you can be notified if there are any recalls or safety updates.
Installing a Car Seat
Properly installing a car seat is almost as important as choosing one that is NHTSA approved. If your car seat is not installed properly, your child could still suffer injuries if you are in an accident. You should read and understand all the manufacturer’s instructions of not only the car seat itself but of your actual vehicle. Newer car models sometimes have lower anchors built into the back seats to connect your car seat’s attachments to, as well as an anchor on the upper part of the seat for a tether to connect to. If you’re just using the seat belt to anchor the car seat into place, make sure you understand how to “lock” the seat belt into place so that the car seat is firmly installed.
Finally, once you get the car seat installed, you should have a third party check it for you. Most fire departments and police stations across New Hampshire offer this service for free. It is also a good idea to have the car seat checked every so often to make sure it stays installed properly.
Tenn And Tenn, P.A., Child Injury Attorneys in New Hampshire
Even if you have done everything right and your child is still injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, Tenn And Tenn, P.A. is here to help you. Call them today at (888) 332-5855 or fill out a contact form to get started on your child’s path of recovery.