Child car seat use across Florida is at record highs. The number of parents who are carefully restraining their children in age -appropriate seats while traveling in a car is on the increase, and this has contributed to a significant decline in the number of people children killed or injured in car accidents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, use of car seats significantly reduces the risk of death to infants below the age of one by as much as 21%, and toddlers between the one and four by as much as 54%. The use of booster seats significantly reduces the risk of serious injury in an accident by 45% for children between the age of four and eight. Seatbelts can significantly help reduce the risk of car accident fatality and injury involving older children by as much as half.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011, more than 650 children below the age of 12 were killed in car accidents across the country. More than 142,000 children were injured in these accidents. In that year, more than 618,000 children between the age of one and fourteen rode in cars without being safely restrained either by a child car seat or booster seat or seatbelt. Approximately 33% of children who died in accidents in 2011 were not wearing any kind of restraint at the time of the accident.

Are Some Parents Confused About How to Restrain Kids?

Despite the statistics that show more parents are using car seats, there is reason to believe that some parents still do not understand how to properly protect kids from harm in the car. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, many parents continue to remain confused about the right age at which a child can be moved from a booster seats to a seatbelt. In one survey that involved approximately 5000 parents, 9 out of 10 parents admitted that they had actually moved a child into an adult seatbelt, much before he or she was old enough to use a seatbelt.

Whereas a car seat comes with its own safety restraints, a booster seat uses the car’s seat belts to restrain the child. Booster seats are designed for children who are too big to use a car seat, but not big enough to use an adult seat belt. It’s important that parents learn the difference between these different types of seats that are designed to protect children of different ages.

The survey was conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide, and also found that 7 out of 10 parents between the age of 4 and 10 were not aware that the child should reach the height of 4’9″ to safely ride using a seatbelt in a car. In fact, parents seem to make that decision to transfer their child from a booster seat to a seatbelt, based on certain factors.

Approximately 56% of the parents admitted that they use other factors besides the child’s weight and height when they decided to move their child from a booster seat to a seatbelt. Typically, these parents decided to transfer their children to a seatbelt, because the child wanted to move to a seatbelt, or was more comfortable in a seatbelt, or because the state laws did not specifically prohibit children of that age from being restrained in a seatbelt.

Seatbelts and booster seats do a great job in helping protect your child from injuries. However, when a child who is too small is restrained in a seatbelt, he may not have adequate protection against injuries in an accident. It’s important to restrain your child appropriately according to his age and height.

If you were injured in a car accident, speak to one of our Palm Beach car accident lawyers about filing a claim for compensation. Schedule a consultation with a Palm Beach car accident lawyer today.

Florida’s Car Seat Law

For parents in Florida, it’s important to be aware of the changes that were made to the car seat law. As of January 1st, 2015, the law regarding car seat age requirements has changed. Florida law now requires that children riding in a car must be in a car seat until they are at least five years old. For children up to and including three-years-old, the restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. For children ages four and five, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a child booster seat may be used. Before the change, Florida required car seats only until a child reached age three.

Studies indicate that more than half of the car seats now in use for children are either improperly installed, or they’re too small or too large. If your child is injured in a traffic accident in south Florida, speak at once with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney. If a negligent driver or a defective safety seat is to blame for your child’s injury, you may be able to file a personal injury claim or a product liability claim to cover your medical costs and other expenses.

Keep your child in a rear-facing seat as long as you can, typically until the child is about two years old. Rear-facing seats offer maximum protection for the head, neck, and spine. Make sure that rear-facing children ride in the back, away from the airbags in the front seat. Use a forward-facing seat when your child outgrows a rear-facing seat, but keep it in your vehicle’s back seat. Children can use most forward-facing seats until they’re 65 to 80 pounds.

If your child has sustained injuries in a south Florida traffic accident – or is injured in the future – consult a good personal injury lawyer immediately. A skilled personal injury attorney can investigate the crash to determine if you have grounds to file a personal injury claim or a product liability lawsuit. Nothing is more important than your child’s health and future. If your child is injured in an accident in or near Palm Beach County, speak to an experienced West Palm Beach car accident attorney as soon as possible.