New Rules for Child Car Seats to Help Prevent Injuries in North Carolina Car Accidents

The government announced this week that child restraint guidelines have been revised by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In accordance with recommendations made by American Academy of Pediatrics, the NHTSA made revisions to now categorize child restraints by age, rather than by type of child seat.

Greensboro car accident attorneys know the importance of child safety equipment to families with small children. These families rely on the government, manufacturers of child products, and safety councils like AAP to keep their children safe in order to avoid personal injury from a defective product or injury in a car accident in North Carolina or elsewhere in the country.
Recent studies have propelled the AAP to change car seat policies after showing that children under the age of two, when riding in a forward-facing car seat, have a 75% chance of being injured or killed in a car crash. It is now suggested that children under the age of 2 remain in a rear-facing car seat until they outgrow it. Research indicates that children are 5-times safer in rear-facing child seats than in any other type of seat up until the age of 2.

“Safety is our highest priority,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The ‘best’ car seat is the one that fits your child, fits your vehicle and one you will use every time your child is in the car.”

Following the instructions provided by the car seat manufacturer plays a vital role in keeping your child safe. Child seat restraints have a required minimum height and weight for each product. Rear-facing seats can reduce stress to the spinal cord and neck as babies grow. In a crash using a forward-facing car seat, the child’s neck often gets snapped forward and can cause severe neck or spinal cord injuries. Sustaining these types of injuries in a crash can sometimes be fatal and are almost always life-altering.

Governors Highway Safety Association reports that North Carolina law requires children age 7 and under or 80 pounds or less to use a child restraint. Motorists who violate the law face a maximum fine of $25, as well as $136 in court costs and points added to their driving record.

The NHTSA makes the following car seat recommendations for children:

-Car seats should be selected based on your child’s age and height, as well as, one that fits in your vehicle appropriately.

-Parents should read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install to the car seat using the LATCH system or seat belt.

-Keeping a child in a car seat as long as possible maximizes their safety as long as they stay within the maximum height and weight requirements stipulated by the manufacturer.

-A child should not be permitted in the front seat before age 13.

If you or your child has been injured, contact an experienced car accident attorney in Gastonia, Greensboro or Charlotte to discuss your rights. The Law Offices of Lee & Smith represent accident victims and their families in cities throughout North and South Carolina so call to make an appointment for a free consultation at 1-800-887-1965.

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