When it comes to the safety of our children, there are things that parents can do to reduce the risk of harm. One of the best ways we can protect them is to use a car seat that is highly rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for children in Louisiana. Although using the right car seat can make a huge difference, this is only true if it is used properly. You should ensure that the seat is the right one for your child’s height, weight, and age. It is critical to make sure that it is properly installed. Unfortunately, nearly 46 percent of car and booster seats are improperly installed. If you are unsure of how to properly install your child’s car seat.
From birth to 2 years, children should sit in a rear-facing car seat, in order to decrease the likelihood that they will suffer whiplash and severe neck and spinal injuries in a head-on collision. From ages 2-5, the seat should be forward facing. However, it is always important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines.
After the age of five, until a regular seat belt properly fits, your child may use a booster seat. Children should only use a regular seatbelt if the lap belt fits across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest. However, they should still be in riding in the back seat.
Using your car seat correctly reduces the risk of infant (those under age one) death in motor vehicle accidents by 71 percent and reduces risk to toddlers (ages 1-4) by 54 percent. Another option is to purchase a convertible car seat, which can be used in multiple configurations as your child grows.
Since August 1st, 2019, Louisiana residents have had new car seat safety regulations signed into effect that follow the guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The new law defines the ages at which children should face backwards (0-2 years), face forwards (2-4 years), use a booster seat (4-9 years), and can ride without a booster seat provided a seat belt fits them properly (9-12 years). Children must remain in the back seat if aged 13 and under.
The new law also defines the fines that an individual will incur if they are in violation of it. The fines are $100 for a first offense, $200-500 for a second offense, and fines plus court costs for additional offenses.
Consult with a Qualified Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney
At Gauthier Amedee, our team of experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys understands the importance of safe driving and will fight hard to protect your rights.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence or recklessness of another person, contact Gauthier Amedee today at 225-647-1700 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation.