The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its Traffic Safety Facts related to children earlier this year. Sadly, traffic-related fatalities for children increased by five percent from 2014 to 2015. Injuries sustained by children in traffic accidents increased by six percent in 2015. Approximately 178,000 children were injured, and 1,798 were killed in traffic crashes in 2015. These figures encompass all accidents and deaths from traffic accidents including children as occupants in vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of fatalities for children in the United States. Many of these deaths and injuries can be prevented if parents would use safety restraints correctly.
Child Safety Restraints
The NHTSA reports that the use of child safety restraints in vehicles reduces fatal injury for:
- Infants under one-year-old by 71 percent
- Toddlers from one to four years old by 54 percent
- Front seat occupants five years and older by 45 percent (risk of moderate to severe injury is reduced by 50 percent)
Of the 775 children killed in car accidents in 2015, 274 were not restrained by a safety restraint. Pennsylvania reported 28 deaths of children in traffic-related accidents during 2015. Tragically, even one death is one too many for the family who loses a child in a traffic accident.
What is the Law Regarding Car Safety Restraints in Pennsylvania for Children?
By law, children under the age of two years must ride in a rear-facing car seat until the child’s height or weight exceeds the limits set by the manufacturer. Children under the age of four years must be restrained in an approved child safety seat appropriate for the child’s age, weight, and height. Children between the ages of four and eight years must use a booster seat. Children 8 years of age and up must wear a seat belt when riding in a vehicle.
PennDOT offers several good recommendations for children and safety restraints:
- Car seats or baby seats should fit the child’s age, height, and weight.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the car seat.
- All children under the age of 12 years should ride in the back seat.
- Children under three years of age should use rear-facing car seats as long as possible. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine when a child outgrows the rear-facing seat. The convertible and 3-in-1 car seats allow children to remain rear-facing for a longer period.
- For children between four and seven years of age, use a forward-facing car seat with a harness if possible before transitioning to a booster seat.
- Booster seats should be used for children between eight and twelve years of age. Make sure the child is big enough for a seat belt to fit properly before transitioning out of a booster seat.
If you are unsure if your child’s safety seat is properly installed, find a fitting station near you. A trained professional will check to see if your car seat is properly installed.
Call an Erie Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
When your child is hurt, your only priority is getting your child the best medical care possible. However, if a negligent driver injures your child, you also need an experienced Erie car accident attorney to represent your child’s legal interests. Your child deserves to be compensated for the and suffering he or she experiences because of a car accident.
Contact The Travis Law Firm toll-free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Erie accident attorneys.