Whether you drive a large SUV or a small sedan, if you have children, you need to be aware of important safety tips to keep them safe in the event of an accident. No matter how careful you are as you drive, another driver can cause an accident in a second. There is no single way to completely prevent motor vehicle accidents, but by following the guidelines below, you will know that your children are as safe as possible in the car.
For infants and toddlers, experts recommend keeping a car seat rear facing until the child has reached the seat’s height or weight limit. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to keep their children rear facing until they are at least two years old.
The weight limit on most convertible car seats, or car seats that may be used in both forward facing and rear facing positions, is 30 or 40 pounds. If the car seat is designed for infants only, the weight limit may be lower. Weight limit information should be labeled on the seat and in the seat’s instruction manual.
Your child’s head should be no higher than one inch from the top of the car seat. Additionally, make sure that the straps are pulled tight and that the chest clip is at the armpit level. The chest clip can cause serious injury if it is lower than armpit level, as it may cause trauma to internal organs in an accident.
If it is cold out, put a blanket over your child’s car seat. Blankets and other thick layers, such as jackets and coats, should not be put on the child before buckling into a car seat. The car seat’s straps may be too loose and the child may be seriously injured in an accident.
Once the child has reached the height or weight or weight limits of a rear facing seat, the seat may be turned to face forward.
After the child outgrows the car seat, the state of Illinois requires that the child use a booster seat until at least 8 years of age. This is because children are still too small to be properly supported by the seat belt systems in cars, which are designed for adult sizes. There are several different types of booster seats available on the market. Most use the car’s seat belt to keep the child secure. Some have backs, and some are backless. Booster seats must be used with both shoulder and lap belts to be effective.
If you are concerned about the security of your child’s car seat, there are various organizations that will examine its installation for you. Many fire departments offer such services, for example.
Contact Chicago injury firm Stein & Shulman, LLC if you were injured in an accident
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