As a personal injury attorney, I represent a lot of families after they have been in a car accident. No one anticipates that they will get into a car wreck, especially if they are excellent drivers. Unfortunately, you are not on the road alone so regardless of how good of a driver you are – there are other people on the road that could be speeding, tired, distracted or drunk. This makes it important to practice defensive driving and to take the steps necessary to protect your family. If you have young children, I encourage you to review this simple checklist to make sure that they are safe while in the car with you:
Your kids are in the backseat. Since most vehicles have airbags in the front, it is important to keep your kids in the back. Otherwise, if the airbag deploys they could end up with an injury that includes a broken bone and be frightened by the experience.
Your baby or toddler is in a rear facing car seat. It is important to keep babies in a rear-facing car seat that is secured in place. They can remain there until they are two years old or have outgrown the weight restrictions for the seat.
Young children are in a forward facing car seat. Your children can stay in a forward-facing car seat until they have outgrown the manufacturer’s weight restrictions. This can be all the way up to eighty pounds. These forward facing seats can be comfortable and many kids enjoy using them because they have cup holders, pockets, etc. Regardless, as a personal injury attorney I see children that are unnecessarily injured because they were graduated from a car seat too quickly. With that in mind, follow the recommendations that came with your particular seat.
Your older kids are in a booster seat. There is no set timeframe for when a child can be done using a booster seat. In order to get out of one, they need to be able to sit properly in the car with the seatbelt across their chest, not across their neck or under their arm. They also need to be tall enough to have their legs properly positioned. This tends to be around 4’9” tall but that will depend on your particular vehicle. If they do not meet these requirements, they need to remain in a booster for their safety.
Distractions are kept to a minimum. As a personal injury attorney, I represent a lot of families that have been the victim of a distracted driving accident. Whether caused by texting, loud music, eating or fatigue, distracted driving is incredibly common. While you cannot prevent other drivers from becoming distracted, you can eliminate the distractions in your own car so that you can practice defensive driving. I recommend giving your children anything that they will need for the trip before you start driving. This way you can keep all of your attention on the road.
Following these simple tips can help to protect your family in the event that you are ever in an accident. However, even if their injuries are reduced, it is still important to seek medical attention and to speak with a personal injury attorney to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. For more information, call and schedule a consultation with my office today.