There are certain features that car manufacturers designed specifically for child safety. Some of these features include car seats, child safety locks and electric windows. This article looks at some of these features and devices that are designed with the intent on car safety for children as well as some tips on how to use these devices. Moreover, it is better to install such devices instead of meeting car accident and trying to find the best personal injury attorney for settlement. Safety is better than cure.
Certain devices are also mandated by governmental agencies and may apply to cars and trucks built after a certain date. Child safety features that are mandated by NHTSA will also be referenced. The manufacturing dates for mandated child safety are also referenced for consumers that are in the market for a used car that are concerned about child safety.
Installing and Proper Usage of a Child Car Seat
To properly install a child car seat, either a tether or latch system should be used. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has mandated that all vehicle manufacturers must install a tether or latch system in all cars manufactured after September 2002. Some car manufacturers also have anchored tether installation retro kits that can be used on older vehicles.
Besides the importance of proper installation (i.e. absence of a tether or latch), the proper use of a car seat is equally important. NHTSA research indicates that up to 80% of child car seats are installed or used improperly. Depending on a child’s age and/or weight, there are specific guidelines for car seat usage.
rear-facing car seats for infants from 1 year and at least 20 pounds
forward-facing car seats for toddlers about 4 years old and 40 pounds
booster seats for children older the 4 years to about 8 years old and under 4’ 9” tall
seat belt restraints after the child outgrows the booster chair
Child Safety Door Locks
Child automotive safety door locks are standard on many newer cars. Since the safest place for a child is in the rear passenger seats, these locks are normally only installed by the factory in the rear doors. Once the lock is engaged, children in the rear seats cannot open the door from the inside of the car, regardless if the normal locks are engaged or not.
The child safety door locks usually have a two-way switch for locked and unlocked. These locks are normally located in the inside of the rear door and are inaccessible once the doors are closed. Once the lock is engaged, the door can only be opened from the outside. As a precaution, it’s best to test the door to ensure it can’t be opened from the inside once the lock is engaged.
Car Child Safety and Electric Power Windows
Power windows can cause serious injury to a child’s fingers, hands and arms. In more extreme cases a power window could cause strangulation. Children should be instructed to never play with a car’s power windows. If the vehicle is equipped with a power lock out switch, the lock out switch should be engaged whenever children are in the vehicle.
Rear seats are the safest place for children. Due to the propensity of a front-end collision and the affects of air bag deployment, children should always be placed in the rear passenger seat of the vehicle.
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