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Is Your Child Secure in their Car Seat?
You may have read the news story. In mid-July, a one-year-old was in a booster seat when the vehicle was involved in an accident. Sadly, the child was tossed from the SUV when it crashed. It brings one important issue to the surface. What about you? Is your child secure in their car seat?
New Jersey is getting ready to mark the second anniversary of its much-discussed car seat law. Right before it went into effect, critics were panning the law as the toughest and most restrictive of its kind in the nation. Controversy seems to have died down as families adjust to the new guidelines.
Meanwhile, it might be worth asking yourself if you and the people to whom you entrust your child are following the safety rules as they’ve written. Over a third of children 12 and under who died in car crashes in 2015 were not secured the way they were supposed to be.
Current New Jersey Guidelines for Car Seat Safety
In an effort to ensure that your child is safe and secure during your travels and their travels with loved ones, it might help to know the law:
- Toddlers between 2-3 years of age must remain rear-facing car seats
- Children under 4 years and 40 pounds must stay in a rear-facing seat or front-facing seat with a five-point harness in the back of the vehicle
- Children must remain in a booster seat until they are either 8 years of age or over 57 inches tall
- Children over 8 must continue to wear their seatbelts
It’s critically important that you follow these guidelines to ensure maximum safety of your child. Obviously, it’s not just about avoiding penalties for failure to comply with the law. The worst punishment could mean serious injury to your precious loved one. Unfortunately, in some circumstances, you could find yourself planning a funeral instead of setting up a college fund.
What Happens If My Child Is Injured?
Consider this scenario. You ask your neighbor to drop your child off at daycare. Although you provide instructions on the car seat, they aren’t followed. It could be that the driver didn’t know how to use the restraint system, or figured it was just a short trip.
It’s a known fact that accidents often happen close to home. Although the crash isn’t your neighbor’s fault, your child is severely injured. The police tell you that if the restraints were properly engaged, your toddler would not have been hurt at all. Understandably, you are devastated.
What should you do? An experienced personal injury attorney will review the facts of the case and advise you about pursuing a claim. However, you should know that the fact that your neighbor didn’t belt in your child cannot be used as evidence in a civil lawsuit.
As parents, the onus is on you to protect your children. If they sustain harm in any type of motor vehicle accident, it is important to seek legal counsel.