National Child Passenger Safety WeekChild Passenger Safety Week begins September 23, 2018. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children. In 2015, 663 children aged 12 or younger died in a motor vehicle crash. Properly securing children in safety seats and seat restraints can go a long way in protecting children in a car accident. Car seat use reduces the risk of deaths to infants by 71%. For older children, booster seat use decreases the risk by 45%, and the use of seatbelts decreases the risk of death or serious injury by half. It is clear that safety seats and seatbelts save lives. But what steps should you take to ensure you’re keeping your child as safe as possible.

New York State Requirements

Under New York law, all children under the age of 4 must ride in a federally approved child safety seat. Under a new law, beginning November 1, 2019, all children under the age of 2 must be in a rear-facing child safety seat. Children under the age of 8 must ride in a booster seat or child restraint system.

Beyond State Requirements

State regulations are minimum requirements but simply following the law may not be enough to keep your child safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that infants and toddlers are safest when they ride facing the rear of the vehicle, so children under 2 should always be in a rear-facing car seat. In addition, it is not illegal in New York for a child to ride in the front seat of a vehicle but it is dangerous. Recent studies have shown that airbags can cause serious injuries to infants and children. Children aged 12 and under should always ride in the back seat and use a seatbelt.

Tips for Keeping Your Kids Safe

  • Make sure your child is in a car seat or child restraint system that is appropriate for their size.
  • Even if your child reaches 2 years old, consider keeping them rear-facing until they outgrow the height and weight requirements of the manufacturer.
  • Teach kids the importance of using a seat belt and don’t start the car until everyone is appropriately restrained.
  • Even if your child reaches 8 years old, consider keeping them in a booster seat until they’re big enough to be properly secured with a seatbelt. For a seatbelt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly on the thighs, and the shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest.
  • Teach your kids to stay calm in the car to prevent distractions to the driver.
  • Set a good example and always be consistent in wearing your own seatbelt.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

Even if we take every precaution to keep our kids safe in the car, we can’t prevent every accident. If you or child has been seriously injured in a car accident, you should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.