Did you know that proper child car seat usage could save the life of a child in the event of a car crash? Motor vehicle crashes are one of the top causes of death of children over the age of six months in the United States. Proper car seat use is the most effective method available for protecting their lives. Unfortunately, 3 out of 4 children in child safety seats are not properly secured. In even more unfortunate cases, children are not even restrained at all.
A system known as LATCH has been put into place to make installing child safety seats in vehicles easier. Each seat on the market must meet federal standards and provide good protection for your child when used correctly. There are several methods for securing seats into vehicles and they should always be practiced. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, and most vehicles manufactured since September 1, 2002 are required to follow this system.
Law Update in Car Seat Safety Effective September 1, 2015
There was an update to NJ law on child safety while in a motor vehicle. It applies to any child under the age of 8 years old and a height of 57 inches that say how they should be secured in the rear seat of a motor vehicle.
- A child under the age of 2 years and 30 pounds should be secured in a rear-facing seat equipped with a 5-point harness.
- A child under the age of 4 years and 40 pounds shall be secured as described in the first point, until they reach the upper limits of the rear-facing seat, then in a forward-facing child restraint equipped with a 5-point harness.
- A child under the age of 8 and a height of 57 inches shall be secured as described in the first and second points until they reach the upper limits of the rear-facing or forward-facing seat, then in a belt positioning booster seat.
- A child over 8 years of age or 57 inches in height must be properly secured by a seat belt.
Expectant Parents Should be Aware
Expectant parents should plan to have their child safety seat installed in their vehicle at least three weeks before the due date of their baby. They should schedule an appointment for at least three weeks prior to the due date and make sure that they’re ready for the big day with their car seat. Most babies are delivered within the month surrounding the due sate, so by including your child seat education three weeks before, the odds of being fully prepared on the birth day are enhanced.
Steps for Correct Use of Car Seats
- Read manufacturer’s instructions for your car seat
- Face the child safety seat in the proper direction
- Secure your child snugly in the car seat
- Secure the child car seat with a seat belt
It is always extremely important to be aware of all new laws in your state. You can contact MDL for more information if you believe you have a case based on laws being avoided and negligence occurring as a resulting factor. Be aware of the laws and stay safe!