Importance of Using Car Seats Properly from Indiana Auto Accident Attorney
It is happy time. Mother and child are returning from a long overdue vacation. Mom is taking care of her baby, 5 months old. He is in a car seat in the back seat facing backward. Mom is singing softly to her baby as the child drifts off to sleep. Suddenly a car to Mom’s right pulls out into the path. Mom reacts, but she has no chance. The crash shakes the neighborhood. Mom is seriously injured, but with proper medical care, she will live. The driver of the other car dies from crush injuries. The first responders arrive at Mom’s car, upside down and smoking fearing the worst. The responder gets to her knees and sees the car seat. She smiles as the babe stares at her wide eyed, trying to understand what has just happened. The baby is alive and well thanks to his mother’s care in placing him in a car seat.
This story is a combination of a number of stories we are happy to report because car seats are highly effective in preventing serious injuries and wrongful death in highway accidents. It is important to use a car seat, but it is equally important to use the car seat correctly. The car seat must be buckled in tightly. Check those straps each time you put your child in the seat. Be sure that the car seat does not tip forward or move from side to side more than an inch. Make sure that the booster is secured with lap and shoulder belt. If your car is equipped with an anchoring system compatible with a LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. This system combines the previously existing top tethers with lower anchors, built into the rear of the car. Some cars built between 1999 and 2002 also have the system. Toddler/booster combo seats are required to have both the upper and lower attachments; booster seats are not required to work with LATCH. Owners of earlier model cars may want to consider having their car retrofitted with the LATCH system. Check with your local auto dealership for information on cost and feasibility.
Remember, car seats are for cars. Car seats, not anchored can be a hazard. Placing a child on an unstable surface in your home, such as the side of a bed may cause serious injury or even death. In Indianapolis, IN a six month old child fell from a bed face down to the floor while in a car seat and died. The details of the tragedy are not yet fully known, but we do know that this loss is devastating. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.