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Devon Glass
Devon Glass
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This May Save Your Child’s Life When Driving on the Interstate

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Church Wyble, P.C. and The Lombardi Law Firm are jointly running a series for the next few weeks on driving safety, which will include driving safety basics, things to “beware of” on the road, and finally, “the don’t dos” while driving. Please check back to both our blog website and the Lombardi Law Firm blog website to follow the series.

Driving on the interstate can be a daunting experience: you want to make sure you and your family are safe. Often times, drivers use the interstate to travel to and from a family vacation. Having young children in the car can make a parent even more nervous, as other drivers speed by without thinking too hard about the hazard they cause. However, by following three simple safety precautions, you can keep your children safe.

Seat belts are an important and simple safety feature, both for you and your children. When used appropriately, and in conjunction with child safety seats for younger children, seat belts can save lives.

Most new cars have air bags for front-seat passengers. When used with lap or shoulder seat belts, air bags are very effective in protecting older children and adults. However, airbags can seriously injure or even kill unbuckled children and adults: emergency braking can cause an unbuckled person to be thrown towards the dash with such force that anyone to close could suffer severe injuries or even death. Therefore, it is extremely important to always use your safety belt, so that the airbag can do its job and save you or your older children’s lives. Moreover, a rear-facing child safety seat should never be placed in the front seat because it could be too close to the dashboard and cause serious or fatal injuries in an infant. Rear-facing child safety seats should always be placed in the backseat.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages 2 to 14. As stated in the last paragraph, child deaths are due in large part to the nonuse or improper use of child safety seats and seat belts. The National Highway Safety Commission has a “4 Steps for Kids” Campaign that helps parents choose the appropriate child safety seat based on their child’s age and also how to properly install it in the car:

1. For the best possible protection, keep infants in the back seat in rear-facing child safety seats up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At the very minimum, keep infants in rear-facing seats until age 1 and at least 20 pounds.

2. Once a child outgrows their rear-facing safety seat, they should sit in a forward-facing safety seat in the back seat until around age 4 and 40 pounds.

3. A child that has outgrown their forward-facing safety seat should sit in a booster seat in the back seat until the vehicle safety belt fit properly.

4. When a child outgrows their booster seat, usually around age 8 and when they are 4’9” tall, they can use the vehicle safety belt if it fits properly. A proper-fitting safety belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest.

Overall, all children under 13 should ride in the back seat. Please visit the NHSC website for a detailed illustration of which child safety seats you should choose to protect your children.

2 Comments

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Great advice and hopefully it will save some young lives.

  2. Jim, P.E. says:
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    This article should be re-written to remove the emphasis on interstates. Interstate highways have the lowest crash rates of any class of highways in the country. The average crash rates for local rural roads is several times higher than on interstates.

    Children need their safety seats on all classes of roads, not just interstates.