Child Safety Seats – What Parents in North Carolina Need to Know
For personal injury lawyers in North Carolina, some of the most difficult cases to handle are those involving children. Fortunately, laws pertaining to child safety seats, as well as standards for child safety seats, have improved greatly over the years.
The law in North Carolina, as it applies to child safety seats, states that children eight years of age and younger who weigh less than 80 pounds must ride in a car or booster seat. Depending on which comes first, kids can upgrade to a seat belt once they turn eight or top 80 pounds. Car seats must be fastened in a rear seat if your child is five years old or younger, weighs less than 40 pounds and if your car contains passenger-side airbags. You can bypass this requirement if your child’s safety seat is airbag-compatible.
Once you know the law, you need to be vigilant in how you select a car seat. It is recommended to purchase new car seats, as opposed to used or older models, for two reasons. The first being that newer seats are more advanced as a result of continuous research which leads to safety advances every year. Older, outdated car seats are less likely to provide your child with the protection they need to come out of a motor vehicle accident unharmed. Most safety experts agree that car seats with a five-point harness are the safest restraint on the market. The second reason to purchase a newer seat is the plastic used in many seats can break down or weaken over time. Many car seats have expiration dates which give guidelines on when the seat’s use should be discontinued.
Now that you know how to select a seat, it is imperative to have seat installed in the vehicle properly. Many organizations will offer complementary car seat installations. Numerous seats are installed into bases which remain permanently in the vehicle. If this is the case, you need to make sure the base is securely and properly installed and always take the time to properly secure the seat in the base.
No car seat is perfect and even the best seats cannot completely protect your child in the worst types of accidents. However, if you follow all the recommendations herein and your child still suffers a serious injury in a car seat; it is recommended to consult with a personal injury attorney at Hull & Chandler, P.A. who can have the car seat tested for design mistakes or failure.