Parents generally know and understand the necessity and safety of a properly installed car seat for their children. However, what most parents may not fully understand is which car seat is the safest and most age-appropriate for their child. To ensure your child’s safety and decrease the risk of death of serious injury while riding in a car, it is important to correctly use a car seat.
California Car Seat Regulations
The most effective thing you can do to protect your child in a vehicle is to buckle them up. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports that thousands of children are injured or killed every year resulting from improperly installed and utilized car seats.
Under current California law:
- Children under 2 years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall. The child shall be secured in a manner that complies with the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the car seat. (California Vehicle Code Section 27360.)
- Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
- Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4’9” in height may be secured by a booster seat, but at a minimum must be secured by a safety belt. (California Vehicle Code Section 27363.)
- Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.
California law does not mandate when children no longer need to be buckled in a five point harness instead of a booster seat. However, experts do recommend parents not rush to move a child into a booster seat before they are ready. With every change to a less restricted and older car seat, there is a reduction in the level of protection during a crash.
The Dangers of an Improperly Installed Car Seat
A car collision can result in serious injuries to all occupants. However, injuries to a smaller child can be even more serious. This makes it imperative for children to be securely fastened in a properly installed car seat. Below are some of the more common injuries children can suffer in a car crash if they are improperly installed in a car seat:
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Mild to severe burns from the car seat straps
The only way to reduce the likelihood of your child suffering from any of these injuries is to ensure they are in the right car seat that is professionally installed in your car. This includes making sure the car seat is installed rear-facing for as long as possible.
Contact an Experienced Stockton Accident Attorney
If you or a loved has been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another party, you should discuss your legal options with an attorney as you may be entitled to compensation.
The Stockton car accident attorneys at the Srai Law Offices advocate for their clients’ full financial recovery through hard work and an aggressive approach. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys, please call (209) 323-5558.