Are Your Children Secure in Your Car?

Lewis and Tompkins is a DC area injury law firm that is currently accepting cases involving people who have been injured in car accidents due to no fault of their own. We have years of experience in helping injury victims in the District, Maryland and Virginia receive fair compensation for their injuries, and we make it a point to help them get past the unnecessary delays and denials that are caused by insurance companies. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the actions of someone else, contact the DC area car accident law firm of Lewis and Tompkins for a free legal consultation today.

The Washington, D.C. area is mainly known for being the seat of our federal government, but one thing that it should be known for is the traffic. On any given weekday there are tens of thousands of cars on the Beltway, the GW Parkway, the Baltimore/Washington Parkway or 95. This inevitably leads to more than our fair share of car accidents.

But even if our traffic situation was serene and free of backups, it would be a bad idea to drive without wearing a seat belt. And if you happen to have a child, toddler or infant, driving without properly restraining them is not only the height of irresponsibility, it is also against the law.

It the District, Maryland and Virginia it is required that infants, toddlers and small children are secured in automobiles with the use of infant seats, adjustable seats, or booster seats. These rules don’t exist because the governments of the District, Maryland and Virginia want to make your life difficult. They exist because these seats save lives. Automotive safety experts have come to the realization that toddlers and infants are quite a bit more fragile than adults, and these safety seats are designed and built specifically to reflect that.

Restraining your child properly is not as difficult as you would think. Every seat that is available on the market comes with instructions, and some even come with instructional DVD’s. But there are different sorts of seats, and they vary according to the size and weight of your child. Here are some tips on which one you should purchase for your car.

Infant Seats: These are for babies that weigh anywhere under 22 pounds, are less than two feet in length, or are under one year old. You must place the seat so it is facing the rear of the vehicle. And you should never place the child in the front seat if you have passenger side airbags. Children and even drivers who are short in stature have been killed by collisions with deployed airbags.

Child Safety Seats (Convertible): This is the intermediate version of the safety seat, and it is for toddlers who weigh less than forty pounds. If the child is under one year old, you should still keep him or her in the back and have the seat towards the rear of the car. Once the child is over a year old, it is acceptable to turn the seat around towards the front. You should always be aware of your child’s weight and height and follow the instructions of the seat to adjust its settings accordingly.

Booster Seats: These can be difficult to use and enforce, as your children might start to resent being put in it once they get past a certain age, but using these is paramount to your children’s safety. These are for children who are four to eight years old who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and are just under four feet and nine inches in length. They are basically a stop gap measure until a regular safety belt can safely fit around his or her waist. If your child is big enough to use a booster seat, it is safe enough to have the child facing forward.

It is difficult to adequately express the pain and sorrow that the parents of a child that has been injured or killed in a car accident must go through, but that pain must be even worse if the death or injury occurs due to the child not being properly restrained. Make sure that your children are properly restrained in any vehicle that they are in.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the District, Maryland or Virginia, contact Lewis and Tompkins for a free legal consultation today.

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