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Car Accident Injury Prevention and Car Seat Regulations

Child Safety SeatsIn 2017, a new law, which significantly alters existing requirements for car seats and the use of seat belts by children, will go into effect. The regulations are part of a nationwide trend towards preventing injuries and deaths caused by car accidents.

Current Law

In California, children under the age of one year must use a rear-facing car seat that has been secured in the back seat of the vehicle. Additionally, children younger than eight years old must be secured in a forward-facing car seat or booster seat at least until the age of five years. Once a child turns eight years old or has reached the height of 4’ 9”, he or she is permitted to begin using regular seat belts.

Updated Car Seat Regulations

In January 2017, the current law will change to require infants under the age of two years old to the use of rear-facing child safety seats unless they:

  • Weigh at least 40 pounds; or
  • Measure at least 40 inches in height.

Furthermore, each child must be secured in a manner that satisfies the individual height and weight limits detailed by the car seat’s manufacturer.

Common Injuries

Properly restraining infants in rear seats has been shown to reduce fatalities in children up to three years old by as much as three-quarters. Despite these efforts, thousands of children still sustain serious injuries every year, including:

  • Concussions;
  • Skull base fractures;
  • Thoracic injuries; and
  • Rib fractures.
Safety Precautions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), parents can take a number of safety precautions to help decrease the chances of injury, including:

  • Always having children sit in the back seat;
  • Never allowing children to sit in front of an airbag.
  • Ensuring that children wear their seat belt correctly, with the lap belt lying across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt across the chest; and
  • Paying careful attention to the manufacturer's directions when installing the car seat or booster.

Because they have not finished developing physically, children are especially susceptible to injury in car accidents. For this reason, many injuries are permanent or require years of surgeries and therapy to correct. Specialists who work with children can be more difficult to access and some parents are required to travel extensively for appointments and follow-ups. Children may even suffer psychological trauma as a result of the crash.

The cost of treatment can quickly overwhelm a family’s finances. Fortunately, if someone else’s negligence or failure to act reasonably contributed to or caused the accident, a child’s guardians can obtain compensation on his or her behalf from the at-fault party. Covered expenses include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If your child was injured or killed in a car accident, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve and receive the best possible care for your child. Please contact a skilled San Jose personal injury attorney at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. for a free consultation.

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I suffered a severe spinal injury while working as a farm mechanic in the Salinas Valley. The attorneys -Tim McMahon and Mark Sigala were fantastic from the beginning. They fought for me over 3 long years and in the end, we won a difficult liability case against the farm company who was using dangerous equipment. The defendants in the case tried everything to put the blame on me and even claimed I was their employee in order to avoid civil responsibility. Tim and Mark never gave up on me and my case. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are fighters. Adrian A.
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