It is the law in Florida that children under 5 years old must be secured in an appropriate restraint device when a vehicle is underway, but it can be overwhelming to choose among the many different options available in stores. While parents must take into consideration state requirements for car seats based upon age, you will also be faced with choices that factor in height, weight, cost, and many others. You could spend hours researching when you do not have guidance on making informed decisions.
For parents who need assistance with choosing the right car seat for their children, it may be useful to review some basics. The following information may help when you are shopping for restraint devices that will best protect against child injuries in a Miami car accident.
Four Types of Child Restraints
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified four basic configurations that offer different types and levels of protection for children of various ages. Many car seats within each category are convertible models, so they can make the next step up when your child grows.
- Rear-Facing: Infants and small babies should always face rear, and the seat should be positioned in the back seat.
- Forward-Facing: Older children have more muscle control over the neck and spinal cord, but they still need support when it comes to the forward movement in a crash.
- Booster Seat: When children reach a certain age, you can install a booster seat that implements the factory-installed restraints in your vehicle. The seat lifts the child so the seat belt fits properly, and many models have high backs and head rests for additional protection.
- Seat Belt: Your child may outgrow a car seat and/or booster chair, but the law still requires buckling up with your vehicle’s safety restraints. Aside from the legal requirements, all occupants should wear a seat belt to protect against death and serious injury.
Other Recommendations for Car Seat Safety
The NHTSA reminds parents that choosing an appropriate safety restraint for your infant, toddler, or young child is just the beginning. There are additional steps to cover all the bases in terms of safety.
- Installation: The NHTSA reports that almost 60% of car seats are not installed in the vehicle correctly. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which typically require you to secure the lower anchor and tether components.
- Registration: Make sure to register your car seat with the manufacturer, so you will be notified about any product recalls and safety notices.
Trust Our Miami Child Injuries Attorneys to Pursue Legal Remedies
If your child was hurt in a car accident, there are options for pursuing the at-fault driver for compensation. However, because minors do not have the legal capacity to take action, parents will be in the position to take advantage of available remedies. You can count on our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA to assist with the process, so please contact us to schedule a free consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.