Child car seats and boosters provide much-needed protection for babies and children in car accidents. Yet the majority of car seats are not installed and used properly. This can lead to tragic results in a car crash. For this reason, it is essential to use the right car seat for your child during every trip in your vehicle.
There is no single car seat option that fits the needs of every child. As a child grows, his or her needs change quickly when it comes to the right car seat and booster needed for optimum safety. For instance, infants and toddlers require different car seats than preschoolers and kindergartners.
Car seats consist of a five-point harness in which two leg straps and two over-the-shoulder straps come together at the locking mechanism. Oftentimes the shoulder straps also meet over the child’s chest. It is important that the chest connection is positioned in line with the child’s underarms. It should not sit on the child’s stomach – that could lead to a significant injury to the child in a car accident.
The state of Alabama has child car seat guidelines which are enforced by the Alabama Department of Public Safety. These include:
- Children who are 5 or 6 years old are permitted to ride in a booster seat
- Children between the ages of 1 and 5 are permitted to ride in a forward-facing seat until the child’s weight reaches 40 pounds
- Children below the age of one or with a weight less than 20 pounds are required to ride in a rear-facing seat – either a convertible seat or an infant-only seat.
Fines and potentially harsher legal penalties may be imposed upon those failing to abide by the above rules. In non-pandemic times, safety technicians are normally available throughout the country to check that you have properly installed your child’s car seat. However, these are not normal times.
COVID-19 social distancing has stopped in-person assistance
Child safety seat standards require these seats to be used properly. However, COVID-19 is making the situation more difficult for parents when it comes to meeting the required safety standards. The majority of in-person programs now offered by Children’s of Alabama that provide help for parents to ensure they have installed their child safety seats properly have been temporarily paused due to social distancing protocols. So instead, the organization is providing free phone consultation checks.
As Marie Crew, coordinator of Safe Kids Alabama, explains, “In the past we do in person car seat checks, where you make an appointment and bring your car seat in and due to COVID-19 and all the concerns of being around people, we have started where you can call into our phone line and get information from one of our child passenger safety technicians over the phone.”
So, help is still available if you are in need of assistance setting up one or more child safety seats in your vehicle. Be sure to take advantage of the help for the safety of your children on the road.
If your child has sustained an injury as a result of a defective car seat, you may have a valid product liability claim. You must prove your claim by demonstrating the seat was defective and the injuries of your child resulted from that defect. This is why you need an experienced Alabama product liability attorney to handle your case.
To set up a free consultation about your case, give Mezrano Law Firm a call today at 205.206.6300 or send us a message through our contact form. Our services cover the state of Alabama from our offices in Mobile, Gadsden, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Florence, and Montgomery.