Any life lost in a vehicle accident is horrible but the loss of toddler or baby is especially tragic.
I urge everyone in Greater Nashville to make sure they use child car restraints properly each and every time they get behind the wheel. As the cold weather season approaches, be careful bundling your little ones in heavy coats or throws before strapping them in. Consumer Reports and other safety agencies advise against putting winter coats on children before putting them in safety seats.
Keep cozy throws and blankets in your vehicle to put over children instead, and warm up the vehicle if you can before driving off.
It is easy to miss a step when rushing or misunderstand manufacturer’s directions. According to SafeRide4Kids.com up to 75 percent of car restraints are used improperly. In 2014, one-third of the children ages 12 years and younger who died in a crash in were not buckled up.
Free Help Available to Install Child Safety Seats
Child safety restraints are not always easy to install properly but doing so can make the difference between life and death for infants and young children.
The following local law enforcement agency offer free inspections and instructions to make sure rear facing, front facing and booster seats are used the right way:
- In Murfreesboro, call 615-895-3874 or 615-893-1422.
- In Nashville, call 615-862-7738.
A list of inspection and fitting stations in Greater Nashville is maintained and updated by The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The hospital also sponsors free inspection and fitting events. Visit Middle Tennessee Child Car Restraint Inspections and Fittings for more information.
Outside Greater Nashville, you can search by state or zip code at SafeCar.gov.
Take care, too, to replace child car restraints after anything other than a minor accident. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration recommends safety seats and boosters be replaced after a moderate or severe crash.
To be considered “minor,” an accident must meet ALL the following criteria:
- The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site
- The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged
- There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants
- The air bags (if present) did not deploy
- There is no visible damage to the safety seat
I cannot stress how important this is. If any air bag deployed, the impact was serious enough to warrant replacement. A car seat may be weakened but show no outward signs of damage. Even if everyone in the car, including the youngster, seems fine, check with your insurance company. Insurers often pay to replace a child safety seat after an accident.
Be careful if you are considering buying a used car seat. Most parent organizations recommend against it. However, SafeCar.gov provides parents a thorough checklist for evaluating used car seats.
“The seat has never been involved in a moderate to severe crash” tops of the list but it’s almost impossible to know a used car seat’s history when you see a second hand seat at a yard sale or thrift store. A used child safety seat should still have its labels that identify manufacturing date and model number. Parents Central at SafeCar.gov has the complete checklist.
Tennessee an Early Leader in Mandatory Child Car Restraints
It is hard to imagine a time without child car seats but many of us do. In fact, Tennessee was the first state to mandate child car seat use in a law that took effect in 1979. By 1985, just over 30 years ago, all U.S. states had passed similar requirements.
It is estimated that proper car seat use reduces the risk of death to infants by 71 percent and to toddlers aged 1 to 4 by 54 percent. The risk of serious injury to children ages 4 through 8 who use booster seats drops 45 percent compared with only using a seat belt.
Please, if you aren’t sure a seat or booster is installed properly, get a free inspection and some guidance.
Your family’s future may depend on it.
“Fighting for your rights” If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident contact David Weissman and the law firm of Raybin & Weissman for a confidential consultation of your case today at 615-256-6666 or contact us online immediately.