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Car Seat Safety

Child Safety Friday – Car Seat Safety

Children are one of the most amazing gifts life can give us. That’s why it is so important to do everything we can to make sure that our babies are safe. Injury lawyer Silverthorne Attorneys’ topic this week will focus on car seat safety. Not only how to properly pick out the right car seat for your child, but also how to install the car seat correctly.

Types of Car Seats

Your child will need a different type of car seat depending on their age, weight, and height. Generally there are four types of car seats for each stage for your child’s growth (see chart below):

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Infants & Toddlers: Rear-Facing

It is recommended that all infants ride in rear-facing car seats – this begins as early as their first car ride home from the hospital. There are many different types of rear-facing car seats – the one that you, as the new parent, choose for your child is completely up to you.

There are three popular different types of rear-facing car seats:

  1. Rear-Facing-Only
    • these are specifically used for infants that are newborns and up to 45 pounds (depending upon the model)
    • These are generally really small, have handles you can carry the baby in, and oftentimes come with a stroller system
    • Usually come with a base that is left in the car – for proper installation. The seat clicks in and out of the base so you don’t have to install each time.
    • It is customary and recommended that these seats be used for travel – not for feeding, sleeping, or any other activity outside of the car
  2. Convertible Seats
    • These are people because they can be used as your child grows. They can be used as rear facing and when they are ready, it converts to a forward-facing car seat
    • many have higher weight limits (40-50 pounds) – this car seat is more ideal for toddlers and babies that are a little bigger
    • These seats have a 5-point harness that attaches at the shoulders, hips, and between the legs.
  3. 3-in 1 Seats (used with rear facing seats)
    • Can be used for rear-facing, forward facing, or belt positioning booster.
    • These seats are usually a bit bigger in size, so it is important that they fit in your vehicle as a rear-facing seat.
    • The downside of these – you do not have the convenience of the carrying handle or separate base – HOWEVER! they have higher weight limits than most rear-facing seats, which is another reason why these are more ideal for bigger babied and toddlers

Installation Tips

  • Place harness in rear-facing seat in slots that are below your baby’s shoulders
  • Make sure that the harness is snug (make sure there isn’t a lot of slack) and that the retainer clip is placed at the center of the chest – level with your baby’s armpits
  • Make sure the car seat is tightly installed in the vehicle with either LATCH or a locked seat belt. If you can move the seat at the belt more than an inch, it is not tight enough
  • NEVER place rear facing seats in the front seat of a vehicle
  • If you are using the convertible seat or the 3-in-one-seat in rear-facing position, make sure the anchor webbing is routed through the correct path. Check the manufacturers instructions if needed.
  • Make sure the seat is at the correct angle so your infant’s head does not flop forward

Toddlers & Preschool Aged Children: Forward Facing

It is customary to read the manufactures instructions to get a good idea of what the best technique to install your car seat. Here are some tips for forward-facing seats:

  1. Convertible Seats 
    • as we saw above, these convert from rear-facing to forward-facing
  2. Forward-Facing-Only Seats
    • these are best for children who weigh between 40-80 pounds (depending upon the model). Manufacturers are currently not making these any longer – but some still remain from years past and can possibly be found being sold from a third party
  3. Combination Seat with Harness
    • These seats can be used for children who weigh up to 90 pounds (once again, depending upon the model) with the harness or without the harness as a booster for children who weigh up to 120 pounds.

Installation Tips

  • Move shoulder straps to the slots that are at or above your child’s shoulders.
  • You may need to adjust the angle of the seat so that the seat sits more upright in your vehicle.
  • Make sure the seat beard runs through the forward-facing belt path and that the seat belt is fastened.
  • ALWAYS use the top tether when you can. The tether is the strap that is attached to the top part of the car seat and holds the seat tightly in place – they give important extra protection from you child’s head from moving too much

School Aged Children: Booster Seats

Now that they won’t seem to stop growing and they have graduated from rear-facing, to forward-facing, they are now onto booster seats. There are two types of booster seats that are available: high back and backless. And the decision for either/or is entirely up to you and what your child is more comfortable with. Booster seats are designed to raise your child up so that the lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly over your child’s body. Most booster seats are not secured to the vehicle with an anchor – they simply depend upon the seat belt being properly fastened over your child.

Installation Tips

**Booster seats MUST be used with lap and shoulder belts. When using a booster seat, please make sure that:

  • The lap belt lies low across your child’s upper thighs
  • The shoulder belt crosses the middle of your child’s chest and shoulder – making sure that it is off the neck.

Older Children: Seat Belts

Now that your child is old enough, they no longer need a car or a booster seat, so they have now graduated on to being able to just use a seat belt. When using a seat belt, you want to make sure that the seat belt fits correctly:

  • make sure the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and not around the neck or the throat
  • the lap belt should be low and snug across the upper thighs – NOT the lower belly
  • your child should be tall enough at this point to sit against the back of the seat with their knees bent over the edge of the seat without slouching

Other Helpful Tips

  •  Never use a car seat that is too old
  • Never use a car seat that has cracks in it
  • No one seat is the “best” or “safest”
  • Do not use seats that have been in a moderate or severe crash
  • Never use a car seat that has been recalled

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We know that this is a lot of information to go over and digest. And that is why we have included it. The safety of our children is so important. Some of these tips can be helpful for first time parents, baby sitters, etc. But also knowing how to properly install a car seat can make a difference in case an accident should occur. See the video below on how to install a car seat properly. Safe travels and safe families.

The Importance of Seatbelts

On Saturday October 4th a Huntington Beach Car Accident involving three vehicles resulted in the fatality of a 26 year old. According to the Huntington Beach Independent, he was ejected from his Ford F-150 pickup around 11am. Although the crash is currently under investigation it is fair to assume a seatbelt was not being used.

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Cars are significantly safer than they were decades ago. Safety features such as airbags and antilock brakes have saved countless lives. However, the most basic car safety system is the seat belt. It is still necessary to utilize this simple safety system keep people safe. The restraint system of seatbelts keeps passengers attached to the seat if an accident occurs. In fact, for airbags to work properly the passenger must be restrained in their seat.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, use of a lap and shoulder seatbelts can reduce the likelihood of fatality by 50 percent. Those who are not properly restrained run the risk of being ejected when in a crash. Someone who is ejected from a vehicle has over a 75% chance of being killed.

It is estimated that almost 12,000 lives were saved by seat belts in 2011. Over 3000 lives could have been saved if the crash victims had been properly buckled in.

The majority of Americans do wear seat belts but some choose not to wear them all the time. They figure the if the trip is short or they won’t be driving on an interstate it isn’t necessary. This is unsafe thinking. Before you put the car in drive or reverse you should put your seatbelt on. You should also verify that all passengers are properly restrained. This includes proper car seats for children. Buckling up only takes a second but could save your life.

Are you suffering from injuries? Contact a car crash attorney today!

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident contact us to learn how we can help you. At Silverthorne Attorneys we have handled numerous car accident cases successfully!

Though we know that we will not be able to bring your loved one back, we can get you an adequate settlement that will help pay for funeral arrangements.

We know all too well the tactics of the insurance companies. They will do everything in their power to lowball your settlement or deny your claim altogether. We are here to fight for and preserve your rights. We will never take the side of the insurance companies. It is our goal to take the stress and burden from your shoulders.

Seatbelt Failure in Mission Viejo Car Accident

Seat belts have saved many lives since their widespread use began in the 1960s. They prevent the users from impacting with the vehicle’s interior surfaces. In addition, they prevent the occupants from ejecting out of the vehicle. These benefits are completely negated when the seat belt fails to perform its function in an accident. This can occur because of a design oversight, a manufacturing defect, or improper installation.

An example of a design oversight are shoulder belts that attach to the ceiling. The ceiling can become badly deformed during a rollover which renders the belt ineffective at restraining the passenger. Sometimes the seat belt webbing is made from the wrong material. This causes the webbing to weaken over time from degradation. The weakened belt then tears from the forces of an accident.

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Poor material selection was also the reason why a particular brand of seat belts experienced unlatching problems. Degradation of the plastic release button caused fragments to break off and interfere with the latching mechanism.

Sometimes the seat belt retractor fails to lock during an accident which causes the belt to remain slack. Some lap belt attachment points are level with the hips rather than below. This makes the lap belt less effective at restraining the occupant in an overturned vehicle.

Improper installation may cause the seat belt to separate from its attachment or anchor point in the car. Improper seat belt installation may also result in an improper fit which injures the wearer during a crash.

Still another defect are latches that sound and feel as though they are secured in place but fail when a small amount of force is applied. Some release button designs are too easily activated, resulting in accidental release by moving objects or limbs during an accident. Sometimes the problem is not a defect of the seat belt itself, but an oversight of the car designer who specifies inadequate lap belts for the back seats.

Are you suffering from injuries due to an accident? Contact a car accident lawyer today!

When seat belts fail, people are subject to the same horrific injuries suffered by previous generations who drove in cars without seat belts. Automakers have had over 50 years to get it right and such failures should never happen. If you have been injured in a Mission Viejo car accident where the seat belt failed to restrain you, it is your right to seek compensation for your suffering and losses. Contact us at Silverthorne Attorneys for a free consultation.

Dangers of Airbags Without Seat Belts

A common misconception about airbags can make Mission Viejo car accidents deadly. The misconception is that seat belts are unnecessary when you have airbags. The public often view airbags as a stand-alone safety system and assume that seat belt use is just an extra safety measure. This is incorrect because airbags are actually designed to be used with seat belts. Further, without seat belts, airbags are ineffective and can be very dangerous.

Problems with Airbags and No Seatbelt’s

One problem with airbags is they deploy with such force that they can cause severe injury and perhaps death. Airbags inflate at a speed of about 200 miles per hour. It has been said that getting hit by an airbag is like getting hit in the face by a baseball bat.

One’s face is only meant to come into contact with an airbag after it has inflated. When you are not restrained by a seat belt, hard braking before an accident will bring your face inside the airbag’s inflation zone just before the collision. After the collision activates the airbag, it will accelerate into your face.

Why Wearing a Seatbelt is Necessary

Not being restrained by a seat belt causes your body to be thrown into the airbag in ways not intended by the airbag manufacturers. Although the head is stopped by the airbag, the lower body continues to move forward underneath the bag. Furthermore, this violently snaps the head back. Which can cause spinal cord injury.

Research has shown that using airbags without seat belts increases the risk of spinal cord injury. The risk for cervical spine fracture is 70 percent higher for drivers and 7 times higher for passengers. Unbelted people who are at the highest risk of fatal injury by an airbag are the very young, the very old, people of small stature, and the very frail.

Facts About Airbags

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Another problem with airbags is that they are not useful for a number of accident types. Airbags are designed to deploy at specific collision angles. If the collision is in a diagonal direction, the front and side airbags may not deploy. Airbags may not deploy if the collision is gradual such as when a car sandwiches underneath a truck or hits the side of a car near its front or back. An airbag may not inflate when hitting a wall at an oblique angle.

Yet another problem with airbags is that they only remain inflated for a very brief time. This means they cannot be counted on for accidents involving multiple collisions or rollovers. Airbags are designed for very specific types of accidents and are meant to be used with seat belts.

Have you been in an accident? Contact a car accident lawyer today!

If you or someone you love has been involved in a Mission Viejo car accident, don’t hesitate to contact us at Silverthorne Attorneys for help. As a car accident lawyer, we know that the time after your accident is very delicate. That is why we are here to help. It is our goal to make sure this process is as painless as possible. This is because we know that you are already dealing with a lot of other pains. Whether physical or emotional. We want to take the burden of the case from your shoulders so you can solely focus on healing.

If you are suffering from injuries due to an accident, contact a car accident lawyer at Silverthorne Attorneys. Consultations are free!

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Silverthorne Attorneys Is A Dynamic Team Devoted To Bringing Justice To Those Injured By The Reckless, Negligent, & Irresponsible Acts Of Others. Experienced In Auto Collisions, Dog Bites, Slip & Falls, Personal Injury and More! If You Or A Loved One Are Injured & Need Legal Assistance, Call Silverthorne Attorneys Today!
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