Jeff Sheppard, Attorney in New Jersey Asks: Are You Using Your Child’s Car Seat Correctly?

Posted on: April 3, 2018
NEW JERSEY. According to the New York Times, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that as many as 59 percent of child safety seats are not properly used. While many of the use errors found were minor, some were serious. As many as 35 percent of child safety seat use errors can render the safety seat’s features useless.

Research has found that car accidents are the leading cause of death of children. 40 percent of children killed in car accidents weren’t properly restrained. Some of these failures to restrain children in their car seats may be use errors. So, what can you do to ensure that you are using your children’s safety seat properly?

First of all, most experts recommend that you try to keep your child in a rear-facing seat as long as you can. Many states are changing their laws to require that infants and young children be placed in rear-facing seats up to age 2. If you get into an accident, a rear-facing seat can cradle your child’s head, neck, back, and spine—protecting him or her from serious life-altering injuries. When a child is restrained in a front-facing seat, momentum will carry the child’s neck and head forward, while the restrains will hold your child in place. This can result in neck or spinal cord injury.

If you plan to use a hand-me-down seat, check the expiration date. Child safety seats are tested for wear and tear over time. Don’t use an older seat if it is damaged or if the expiration date has passed. It should go without saying, but if you’ve been in a serious accident, throw away the car seat and get a new one. You may also want to check seats for recalls and make sure that your child’s seat meets current safety standards and recommendations.

When anchoring your child’s car seat, make sure to check that you’ve anchored all tethers. The top tether is most often forgotten, but it is incredibly important because it can prevent the seat from tipping forward. This can mean the difference between your child hitting the seat in front of him or her.

Finally, require your child to ride in a booster seat if he or she is under 4 foot 9. This has nothing to do with age. Improperly placed seat belts can cause harm or may not restrain your child properly in the event of an accident.

When shopping for a car safety seat, remember that all seats on the market have been tested to meet basic safety standards. According to Parents, there are many options on the market, including convertible seats that can be used as your child grows and car stroller travel systems.

Parents also suggests that you have your installation work reviewed by a professional—after all, it is your child’s life on the line.

Every year, many children are injured and killed due to poor car seat installation and due to the neglect or negligence of other drivers on the road. If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident, consider speaking to personal injury attorney, Jeff Sheppard in New Jersey today. Our firm understands that car accidents can be especially devastating when children are hurt. Visit us at to learn more about your rights and options.
Jeff Sheppard, Esq.
750 White Horse Pike
Hammonton, NJ 08037