Seat belt use is paramount to prevent child deaths in auto accidents.
Seat belt use is one of the easiest ways to prevent loss of life as one California family learned over the holiday weekend . All three of their children were ejected from their vehicle during an accident and the oldest child, only 10 years old, died of her injuries.
The leading cause of death of children in accidents is the lack of seat belt use, the lack of use of a child seat, or a properly configured child car seat.
Ity is important that we continue to weducate families on the need to use seat belts. Many of the fallen are from poor families and the safety guidelines are not followed because off a language barrier and ignorance of the danger.
Infants from 20 pounds or less and one year or less should use a rear facing child seat. When the child grows, the car seat should then be changed to front facing and the belts appropriately adjusted.
One major issue is the reuse of child restraining seats when they have been involved in an accident. All manufacturers recommend that the seat be changed out, becasue unseen dmage can cause injury or death in a second accident.
School-aged children should use a booster seat to allow proper fitting of the seat belt, otherwise it constitutes a choking hazzard and the effectiveness of the seat belt will be lessened. For a copy of this guideline, visit www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm
Please be safe with your child and if you want to do a good deed this holiday season, give a new seat to a needy mother or family. Protecting our children is of paramount importance.
Suzanne Leslie has been practicing personal injury law for 24 years with the firm of Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie.
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