Florida injuries to minors and children are very common in state car accidents. Police officers and child safety advocates note that just any seat belt, however, will not help keep a child safe. The wrong seatbelt can actually cause more injuries. For example, using a regular seatbelt rather than an age-appropriate child safety seat with very young children can result in serious injuries in the event of a collision.
Children under the age should be in a child safety seat in the back seat of the car. Infants should be in rear-facing seats while older children and toddlers can be facing forward, but must be in child safety seats designed for their age group. Most experts agree that until age two, children should be in rear-facing seats. Once children are between 40 and 65 pounds, they can be placed in child safety seats with harness and buckles.
Children under four-feet nine inches in height or under 8 years old should be placed in booster seats. This is because in the event of a Florida truck accident or car accident, the seatbelt can cut into a child’s neck, causing serious and potentially life-threatening injury. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children should always be in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old. Younger children are much safer in the back, even when they no longer need a child safety seat. The back seat provides more cushioning and more protection in the event of an accident. Children who are in the back seat will suffer fewer injuries from the windshield. As well, airbags, which are now standard in most cars, can be dangerous to children when deployed. The airbags inflate very suddenly and because children are not as tall as adults, children tend to be pushed into the airbag with great force. This can and does cause injuries.
According to federal statistics, the widespread use of child safety seats does seem to have an impact on child safety in car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4% of the nation’s fatal car accidents resulted in the deaths of minors 14 years of age and under. This is 3% lower than the number of childhood deaths in car accidents in 2008. This is despite the fact that the amount of miles traveled by Americans in cars actually increased in 2009. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 179,000 children sustained injuries in 2009 car accidents.
Child safety seat use does seem to be closer to universal – but booster seats are a different problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, 96% of children between the ages of 1 and 3 were placed in child seats and 89% of children under 13 years of age used child restraints appropriate for their age. 41% of children between the ages of 4 to 7 use booster seats. Child safety advocates would like to see that number increase in order to help safeguard children. The message is clear: In Florida car accidents, age-appropriate safety seats and restrains can save lives and can help prevent injuries.