Three tips to keep young children safe in motor vehicles

Proactive steps can help keep kids safe in motor vehicles, reducing the risk of injury in the event of an accident.

A recent study found that over 50 percent of parents are not correctly using car seats. More specifically, these parents were failing to properly use the top tethering device located in the back of the seat. The tether goes over the back of the passenger seat. It connects the top of the child's seat to the vehicle. Without this connection, the car seat could pitch forward during an accident.

These findings provide an opportunity for parents to take proactive steps to help better ensure that their children are as safe as possible within their vehicles. Three tips that are applicable for most parents include:

  • Use a car seat. First and foremost, it is important to use a car seat every single time a child is in a moving vehicle. The United States Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted a study on car seat use. The agency found that 6 percent of children do not use a car seat or booster seat.
  • Install the seat properly. Tether issues are not the only problem. The NHTSA also reports that 46 percent of all car and booster seats are not properly installed. The biggest portion of misuse is present in forward facing seats, at 61 percent. Misuse was also found in 49 percent of rear-facing infant seats were misused, 44 percent of rear-facing convertible seats, 24 percent of backless belt-positioning boosters and 16 percent of highback belt-positioning boosters. Parents can avoid this problem by following installation instructions provided by the manufacturer of the seat and by having the installation checked by a certified child passenger safety technician.
  • Do not have debris in the car cabin. Avoid having any heavy, loose material in the cabin of the car. In the event of an accident or sudden stop this material could fall onto the child and cause injury.

Although these tips can help reduce the risk of injury to a child in the event of an accident, injury can still happen. If the injury is the result of an act of negligence on the part of another driver, compensation may be available through a personal injury lawsuit.

Children who are injured may have a lifetime of rehabilitation or medical needs. These cases can be particularly difficult, both emotionally and legally. As such, it is wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced child injury attorney can tailor the case to your specific facts and help better ensure you receive your entitled legal remedies.