Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on August 3rd, 2010,
by Zane Cagle

National Misuse Rate of Child Safety Seats as High as 80%

Posted on August 3rd, 2010 by Zane Cagle

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children ages 1-14. While some crashes simply cannot be survived, over 57% of deaths for children 0-15 occur because the child was not restrained and many more occur due to the child being improperly restrained. Nationally, the misuse rate of child safety seats is over 80% and as high as 95% in some areas. Infant seats have been shown to reduce a child’s fatal injury by 71% and toddler seats by 54%.

Due to a child’s inexperience and lack of understanding toward many dangers, they are the most susceptible to death or injuries in a motor vehicle. Because of the increases in child fatalities in motor crashes, researchers have studied the causes of child injury during motor crashes and steps to help prevent them.

Harsh Grewal, MD, a pediatric surgeon from Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital in collaboration with his colleagues reviewed 10 years worth of medical literature on children and motor vehicle accidents.

Their study revealed that children involved in car accidents when they were inappropriately seat belted were at a higher risk for “seat belt syndrome”, a complex of injuries to the spine and abdomen. Pediatric health care professionals should be wary when receiving children that exhibit bruising as it may indicate much more serious injuries such as spinal cord injury, abdominal and or spine tenderness and neurological deficits. It was found that boys are more susceptible to injury than girls and that eh incidence increases with age.

There are some basic rules for child safety in motor vehicles from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Kids 12 and under should always ride in the back seat. This cuts the risk of death by 36%
  • Kids should be in a car seat or booster until they can be seated properly in a seatbelt. For most children, this is around 8 years of age or 4’9″ tall, but proper seatbelt fit is the most important factor.
  • Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat when there is an active frontal airbag.
  • Keep your baby rear-facing as long as possible. That can mean up to 30, 33 or 35 pounds in most current convertible seats unless they outgrow it by height first.
  • All current car seats should pass government safety standards. Select the one that best fits your child, your vehicle and your budget. Some models do have different features; select one that has the features that will allow you to use it correctly on EVERY trip.
  • Always read the owner’s manuals for your vehicle and car seat thoroughly. They often contain specific information about car seat installation that may not be obvious. Some models may vary from what you would expect.
  • Make sure the harness fits snugly on your child, the car seat fits snugly in your vehicle, and that your vehicle seat belts are locked properly.
  • Why you buy a car seat, make sure you have a good return policy in case it doesn’t fit or in case you find that you do not like it. Have your seat inspected by a certified technician for free at a checkup event or fitting station.
  • Please be wary of used car seats, especially those over 6 years of age, those with an unknown history that may have been in a crash, those that show any form of cracks or damage, and those with missing labels, model numbers, manufacturing date, instructions or parts.
  • Please give driving your complete, unimpaired attention and wear your own seat belt all the time. These two simple steps are among these easiest ways you can protect yourself and your passengers from injury or death.

Obviously some restraint is better than none at all. In a collision, an unrestrained child continues at the speed of the automobile until they come into contact with some part of the interior. On occasion, a car seat will be defective in its construction and may cause a child to sustain catastrophic injuries or even death. Contacting a product liability attorney as soon as possible after such an accident is crucial in order for a thorough investigation to occur. Contact The Cagle Law Firm if you have been in an accident with a small child that was restrained and any passenger that sustained injuries.

Contact the Cagle Law today to speak with an experienced and dedicated St. Louis personal injury lawyer about filing a personal injury, defective product claim or wrongful death claim. To schedule a consultation to discuss your claim, please contact the firm today at (314) 276-1681