Keep Kids Buckled Up

Parents of infants are likely to use car seats, both because of the baby’s inability to sit upright and because they understand the complete helplessness and vulnerability of the little one. By the time a child outgrows the car seat, however, they may be left on their own when it comes to getting settled in the car. They may dislike the idea of a booster seat or they may unfasten the restraint while the vehicle is moving.

For whatever reason, 33% of the children who died in a car accident in 2011 were not buckled up, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The use of appropriate car restraints, based on age and size of the child, can have a huge impact on their safety. Use of a car seat for infants reduces the risk of death by 71%. Buckling up toddlers (1 to 4 years old) makes them 54% safer. Putting children aged 4 to 8 years in a booster seat, rather than just the vehicle’s seat belt, reduces the risk of serious injury by 45%.

Just this week, a serious accident closed I-69 near Daleville, Indiana, while police and emergency rescue helicopters attended to the seven people injured in the two-vehicle crash. There were two children in the back seat of a car which was rear-ended because it unexpectedly stopped in the roadway. One, a 14-month old who was in a child seat, was flown to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis with internal injuries. His four-year-old sister, however, was not in a child restraint, and she did not survive the crash.

Tips: Keeping Your Kids Safe

Everyone who transports children should know the ages and stages of effective protection for kids in a car:

  • From birth up to age 2, they should be in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat.
  • From age 2 until at least age 5, they should ride in a forward-facing car seat, in the back seat.
  • From age 5 until the vehicle’s seat belts fit properly, they should be buckled into a booster seat, preferably in the back seat.
  • When the vehicle’s lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest and not the neck, then the child can ride without a safety device. The recommended height for proper seat belt fit is 57 inches tall, and even children of this size are safer in the back seat.

Here are some other tips from the CDC about ensuring the safety of young passengers:

  • Buckle all children aged 12 and under in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an air bag.
  • Buckle children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.
  • Buckle children in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts on every trip, no matter how short.
  • Set a good example by always using a seat belt yourself.

The Indianapolis car crash lawyers of McNeely Stephenson have more than 30 years of experience helping Indiana accident victims. If you or someone you love lost their health or life because of a motor vehicle wreck caused by someone’s negligence or recklessness, call 1-317-825-5200 for a free evaluation of your potential claim for compensation.