Child Passenger Safety Week, a public service event held yearly in mid-September, emphasizes the importance of using child safety seats when transporting young children under the age of five years old. With the school year in session and a likely increase in the amount of time you spend in the car with your child, it is important to be aware of how to keep older children safe as well. Car accidents and injuries are one of the leading causes of death among children 13 and under. The following tips can help prevent accidents and make sure your child and their friends stay protected.
Child Passenger Safety
Throughout the year, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) offers community programs highlighting how to use child safety seats properly. They advise that, when properly installed, a child car seat can reduce the risk of potentially life-threatening car accident injuries by as much as 71 percent, while booster seats for older children cut fatality risks in half.
In addition to making sure the seat is installed properly and according to manufacturer’s instructions, it is important to use the restraint system appropriate for your child’s age and weight. Under South Carolina law, this includes the following:
- Rear-facing car seats should be used for children under 20 pounds and one year old and younger.
- Forward facing car seats should be used for children between 20 and 40 pounds and over one year of age.
- Booster seats should be used for children between 40 and 100 pounds, and until they are roughly five feet in height.
- Shoulder harnesses and lap belts should be used for children over five feet and weighing 100 pounds or more.
Tips for Driving With Children
Many parents spend the school year chauffeuring older children and their friends to school and other activities. To ensure child passenger safety, Parents Magazine recommends the following tips:
- Make sure there are enough seat belts for all children in your vehicle and require everyone to buckle up before putting the keys in the ignition.
- Remember to use both lap and shoulder belts, and resist letting two children share a seat belt.
- Children under the age of 12 should always ride in the backseat, where they will be safer in the event of a collision.
- While children naturally are excited to be together, emphasize the importance of sitting still, talking quietly, and remaining calm until you reach your destination.
- Remind your child to follow these rules, even if they are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.
Let Us Help You Today
Car accidents and injuries can occur despite your best efforts toward child passenger safety. In these situations, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm for help in holding at-fault driver’s accountable. Serving Charleston, Columbia, and the Upstate, our South Carolina car accident attorneys help victims get the compensation they need to recover.