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Young Kids Who Aren’t Sitting In Booster Seats Are At Risk Of Serious Injury If A Car Crash Occurs

February 4, 2012 | Filed under: Car Accident

Is this a familiar scenario? You’re picking up kids from soccer, or any other group activity, and you only have the required booster seats for the exact number that represents your own offspring. The other kids who climb in your car will have to make do with seatbelts. This is a risky choice, since grade-school age children are supposed to sit in booster seats in addition to wearing seatbelts while riding in a car.

As NPR explains in a piece this week, a recent survey in Pediatrics revealed that moms and dads are doing a good job of making sure their youngsters—in the 4- to 8-year-old bracket—are sitting in booster seats when they drive. The survey found that 76 percent of parents are using boosters, improving their children’s safety while traveling in a car. The bad news the survey revealed is that parents are making do when they have to carpool other children. Just 50 percent of parents have their own kids sit in the booster seats when they are driving them with friends. Almost a quarter of parents in the survey—21 percent—permit their children to ride without sitting in a booster seat when their children are traveling in another person’s vehicle. Even more risky and potentially hazardous, some parents—in trying to accommodate so many more children in the family car while carpooling—buckled two children into one seatbelt, or allowed a child to travel in the cargo area of a vehicle.

In trying to make the carpool work, some parents are putting children at risk of severe injury should the vehicle be involved in a collision. Booster seats—like car seats for infants—are designed to hold the small body of a child in place, to offer support in the face of a collision. A small body, such as a child has, can’t be restrained safely by a car seatbelt. That’s because the lap and shoulder belt don’t rest across the appropriate structure of a child’s body since the body is much smaller than an adult’s. When a child sits in a booster seat, the lap belt and shoulder belt can restrain the child in a safer manner. Risk of injury with a properly fitting seatbelt, is cut in half.

Parents in the survey gave a variety of reasons for not using booster seats, such as logistics in securing additional seats from other parents, and the lack of space to put so many additional booster seats in one car. Parents more often used booster seats if they resided in a state that requires them. Forty-seven states require them for children who are 4 feet 9 inches and under.

It’s a sobering statistic that the number one cause of death for children ages 3 to 14 is a car crash. And here’s a graphic picture that NPR shared in answer to the question as to what happens to young children who were not sitting in boosters but were only restrained by a seatbelt during a crash: In a 2005 study, eight children, who ranged from 4- to 8-years-old, suffered serious abdominal injuries. Five children suffered a broken spine. Four children are paralyzed. Permanently.

Seatbelt education and outreach, and seatbelt laws have gone a long way to improving the safety of people riding in vehicles and reducing risk of serious injury in the case of a collision. A seatbelt isn’t enough, though, for a young child. Give your young child a boost in life, and any other child traveling with you, and have him or her sit in a booster seat with a seatbelt until they have grown big enough not to need one.

If you, or someone you know, have been in a car accident, you have the right to compensation. The Law Offices of Robert Koenig has the experience necessary to win your case. You deserve to have a Las Vegas car accident lawyer who will fight for your rights and who can accurately represent all of your concerns. You need a car accident lawyer who is familiar with all of the Nevada state laws and will work as hard as possible to serve you and the community. Call the Law Offices of Robert Koenig today for your free evaluation!

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