There are more than 4,000 car accidents in Miami every month. That’s more than 60,000 car accidents in Miami every year. Many of these accidents involve cars that are traveling with infants and small children. Parents can reduce the risk of injury to their children by making sure that they use a car seat. However, it’s not enough to just have a car seat for your kids. It’s important to know how to use that seat properly to minimize your child’s risk of injury.
Here are the top 5 car seat safety tips for parents in Miami. Keep these in mind to protect your child from unnecessary harm in the event of a car accident.
Children Must Ride in the Back Seat
The front seat is the most dangerous place in the car for your child. If you’re in an accident, airbags can deploy with great force. Since children are much smaller than adults, the risk of serious injury or death increases significantly.
Keeping your kids in the back seat will minimize their risk of injury in a crash. Whenever possible, situation your child’s car seat in the middle. Research shows that this is actually the safest place in the vehicle for your growing child. In fact, children riding in the middle of the vehicle are 43 percent less likely to suffer a serious injury.
Keep Children Rear Facing For As Long As Possible
Young children (including infants, toddlers, and preschool aged kids) are 5 times safer in the car when they are seated in a rear-facing car seat. In fact, kids under the age of 2 are 75 percent less likely to suffer a catastrophic or fatal injury if they’re rear-facing. Why? Most car accidents involve impact at the front of the vehicle. Rear-facing car seats help to brace your kids and protect them from the sheer force of the collision.
How long should kids remain rear-facing? In Florida, parents are encouraged to keep their kids rear-facing until they are one or weigh 20 pounds. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your kids in rear-facing car seats until they are at least 2. The longer they are rear-facing, the longer they will be protected in the event of an accident.
Update Your Car Seat Regularly
Did you know that car seats actually expire? It’s true, most car seats are only usable for a period of 6 to 8 years. This is because car seats are made out of plastic that degrades over time. If your child is sitting in an expired car seat during an accident, the seat may not be able to offer the protection your child needs. As a result, the risk of serious injury or death increases significantly.
Think Twice Before Buying Used
Buying a used car seat or borrowing one from a friend or family member can be cost-efficient. However, you should really think twice before putting your child in a used car seat. First, you never really know what that car seat has been through in the past. It may have been mishandled, broken, or involved in an accident. These could all make the seat less safe for your child. Second, you may not know how old the car seat really is. Has it passed its expiration date? Is the material trustworthy?
Money can be an object when buying car seats. If money is a factor, you should think about trading in your old car seat if you’re having another child. If your children are many years apart, it can be even more important to trade in for a new and safer model. Some companies, including Target, even offer discounts on new car seats if you trade in your old one.
Always Replace Your Car Seat After an Accident
Car seats help to protect your children from harm in an accident. When you’re involved in a crash, the seat can absorb a great deal of force. This is true even if your child wasn’t in the car during the accident. When a car seat absorbs force, its structure and strength can become compromised. If you use the same seat in the future, it may not be able to offer maximum protection to your child.