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September 18-24 has been designated National Child Passenger Safety Week. Is your child safe in his car seat? You may be a surprised. A recent study has found that many car seats are not properly installed.

Last week, Safe Kids USA released the results of a study based on data from 79,000 child safety seat inspections that occurred over a one year period. The study, the largest of its kind, looked at whether children were using the appropriate seat for their size and age and whether the seat was properly installed.

Is your child in the right car seat?

According to the study, parents are doing a better job keeping children rear-facing until the age of two. Yet, many older children showed up at car seat checkpoints in the wrong seat for their age and size – or in no seat at all. Lack of a safety seat was a significant problem for children ages seven and eight, who should have been in booster seats. Florida car seat law only requires that children under three be restrained in car seats; however, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend that children use a booster seat until they are four feet nine inches tall.

Learn which safety seat your child should be in in West Palm Beach car crash lawyer Craig Goldenfarb’s article, “Florida Car Seat Law: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Child Safe.”

Is your car seat properly installed?

The biggest safety concern noted by the study was that that less than one-third of forward facing safety seats were installed using a top tether. When a top tether was used, it was used correctly only 59% of the time.

The top tether helps keep the seat securely in place and provides extra protection in the event of a West Palm Beach auto accident by reducing the forward movement of the seat and the child’s head. The top tether is part of the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for Children) system. It looks like a long seatbelt strap that is attached to the top part of the car seat. A hook on the strap attaches to an anchor on the vehicle. The anchor for front-facing installation is usually located on the floor behind the seat or on the back of the seat. If you can’t find the tether anchor, check your vehicle’s instruction manual.

LATCH anchors should not be used for children who weigh more than 48 pounds.

Get your car seat checked!

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children age 3-14. A properly installed safety seat or booster seat can reduce a child’s risk of death or serious injury in a West Palm Beach car wreck by up to 71 percent.

Installing a car seat can be difficult, as many instruction manuals are confusing or unclear. But parents can get help. Many local fire departments have free car seat checks. The seat check takes just a few minutes, and the technician will show you how to install your car seat so it offers the best protection for your child. Call the fire department nearest you to schedule an appointment.

West Palm Beach car crash lawyer Craig Goldenfarb helps children who are injured in car accidents

Was your child injured in a West Palm Beach car accident? You may be entitled to receive compensation for your child’s injuries – even if your child wasn’t in a safety seat. To discuss your child’s Florida accident claim, contact the law offices of Craig Goldenfarb and ask to schedule a FREE consultation with a West Palm Beach car crash lawyer.

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