Do you normally have a child in the vehicle with you while driving? If so, have you taken every possible approach to make sure they are safe? Are you fully informed with what is involved in keeping children safe? If not, here are a few tips on protecting children, the persons most susceptible to injuries during accidents.
Child Restraint Laws
While you may think your child is safe because you are abiding by your state’s child safety or restraint laws, you could be wrong in many cases. A National Safe Kids campaign review of state child restraint laws found many to be insufficient. The existing restraint laws:
Include penalties for violations that are too minor to encourage agreement
often do not establish restraint guidelines for children older than eight years old
have too many vehicle or use exceptions
usually do not offer child-seat loaner or assistance programs
How Are Children Best Protected?
Here are some suggestions from keeping young auto passengers out of harms way:
*Infants- Should be in well-built and padded infant carriers that should be securely stationed in a rear seat. Infant seats should be designed to face the back of the car and NOT the front of the passenger area. Infants must be protected from the possibility of being projected forward into the windshield or other hard surfaces.
*Toddlers- Should be in well-constructed, padded child carriers that, while facing the front passenger area, should only be located in the back passenger seats. Again, this is to decrease the chance of hitting the windshield, dashboard or any other hard surfaces and to avoid air bags that are designed to protect adults.
*Pre-schoolers- May move from child carriers to well-built and padded “booster seats”. The purpose of the boosters is to ensure that the seat belts fit properly and securely. As with child carriers, these restraints should be located and installed in the back passenger seats.
*Older children- Around age 12 and older, it should be safe to allow children to ride in a vehicles’s front seat. HOWEVER, the age guideline assumes that a child has become heavy and tall enough to be properly secured by regular seat belts, or restraints. Be careful that shoulder straps either secure older children properly or are properly tied down so they don’t become hazardous. Also, think realistically. Age is a secondary consideration to body size. If a child results in a poor fit for regular seat belts and shoulder straps because of their small build, continue placing the child in the back passenger area with a secure seat belt.
A disturbing fact from the National Safe Kid campaign survey is the high incidences of children who are allowed to ride in cars without the use of restraints or while improperly secured. This upsetting fact results in hundreds of thousands of serious injuries and deaths. Every passenger in a vehicle should use restraints that are suitable for his or her size and age. In a case like this, do not depend on a law; instead, depend on what is necessary to keep everyone in the vehicle safe.
If you have any questions about the state’s Child Restraint Laws or are inquiring information on an auto policy, please call us at (631) 738-7300 or get a quick quote at www.vrpinsurance.com
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