Is Your Child’s Car Seat Safe Enough? Let’s Find Out

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Car seat that doesn't meet safety standards in Florida ‘Tis the season of heavy travel. Many families across the country will be heading out for trips to or from Saint Petersburg and to other popular vacation destinations. As such, it is essential that children are properly restrained in the car, to better ensure their safety should an accident occur.

Wrong Car Seat

Choosing the right car seat for your child is essential if you hope to fully reduce the risk of injury in an accident. Unfortunately, police stations offering car seat safety courses and quizzes find that, all too often, parents choose the wrong devices for their children, which results in little or no security on impact. Car seats today are labeled with weight and size guidelines. These should be abided by. Rear-facing seats and five-point harnesses are the safest forms of transporting children under a certain weight. Use these for as long as possible. It is recommended that a child be secured with a five-point harness until he or she has outgrown the size limitations provided by the manufacturer. As a general rule, it is wise to have a child in a rear-facing car seat up to three years. Five-point harnesses can be used until the age of seven, and booster seats are recommended until 12 years of age, or until the child has grown enough to allow a traditional seat belt to fit comfortably.

It’s not enough to choose the right seat, however. There is a knack to installing seats correctly. Even the perfect fitting seat will do little for the child if it is not properly secured in the vehicle.

Installed Improperly

It has been estimated by the Department of Motor Vehicles, based on reports by police departments throughout the country, that nine out of ten car seats are improperly installed in vehicles. That is to say that 90 percent of the children in this country are facing unnecessary risks on the roads.

Most police departments often offer free car seat education days. For more information on these services in this area, it is wise to contact a St. Petersburg police station.

Among other things, the representatives at these events will check the side-to-side and forward-to-back motion of the car seat as installed. If the seat can be moved more than one inch in any direction, then it is considered to be improperly installed. The Department of Motor Vehicles further approximates that up to 80 percent of car seats are so poorly installed that there are significant safety issues.

These professionals remind parents that car seats should be installed using the latch system OR a seat belt, but never both. These safety devices should always be placed in the back seat of a vehicle. Even with modern air bags, it is much riskier to have a child in the front seat. However, it is also important to provide the child and the car seat enough space. The driver’s or passenger’s seat should be pushed forward if it is too close to the car seat.

Be sure the back security tether is clipped behind the back seat of the vehicle and tightened down. This will help secure the seat and also reduce the chances of whiplash in an accident. Many car seats for young children are equipped with leveling devices. Ensure that the air bubble falls in the designated area. This will help you achieve the proper angle for the car seat. This angle has been specifically determined to be the safest, should an accident occur.

With the right seat, properly installed, your child will be protected in an accident. If he or she is injured in a collision that was not your fault, or, if that car seat fails in such a situation, speak to a personal injury attorney about your rights.