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Summer Road Trips = Car Seat Safety Checks

Warm, sunny days bring out more impromptu rides and road trips! Whether it’s a short trip for an ice-cream cone, or a several hour drive to the shore, make sure your little ones are buckled in securely and safely when you venture out on the road.

Every 33 seconds, a child is involved in a car crash. That’s more than 2600 kids, every day – an astounding number, that can easily be avoided. And, while most parents have become more vigilant in using car seats, the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that at least 59% of those seats are installed incorrectly.

There are basically three types of car seats: rear facing, forward facing and booster seats. Each seat is designed for a very specific age, height and weight group, so you will want to be sure you have the right seat for your child. Be sure to check the label for weight, height and age limits.

  • Buy a seat that has all of the features you want included. Buying an aftermarket part for your car seat may reduce its safety.
  • Don’t buy a used car seat. Harness straps can wear, and parts that you cannot easily see can break. It can be unsafe it has been used in a crash, if it has been recalled, if there are missing parts, labels or instructions.
  • Make sure you register your seat so that you are notified of any recalls.
  • Car seats DO expire. Look for an expiration date on the label.

 

Installation

Make sure you follow all of the instructions in your car seat owner’s manual for installation. And, refer to the owner’s manual for your vehicle. Not all cars allow for car seats everywhere there is a seatbelt.

  • The back seat is the safest place to ride for all children under age 13.
  • Choose either the seat belt or latch installation option for your car seat, but don’t use both. Use whichever method provides the better, snug fit for your vehicle. There are weight limitations on the latch method, so be sure to read your car seat labels.
  • Take the INCH TEST. A properly installed seat should not move more than one inch when moved side to side or front to back. This rule applies no matter which installation method you use – seat belt or latch.

The Best Fit

A properly fitted 5-point harness helps keep your child protected. It is the strap that goes over both shoulders, both hips and buckles between their legs. Check your car seat label for height and weight to make sure your child has not outgrown it.

  • Adjust shoulder straps as your child grows.
  • Keep your child in a 5-point harness for as long as possible. Don’t be in a hurry to move up to the next seat.
  • Take the Pinch Test. If you can pinch seat belt webbing, it is not snug enough. Your fingers should slide off a snug fit.
  • Bulky clothes, such as a winter coat, could hinder the safety of the 5-point harness and your car seat. After warming up the car, put your child in their seat, without their coat. After they are buckled up properly, cover them with their coat or a warm blanket.

Changing Seats

Age 2 and under should ride in a rear-facing seat. If you are in the most common type of crash, a front-end collision, a rear-facing seat allows the child’s head, neck and spine to move evenly in the seat instead of away from it.

After age 2, and they have outgrown rear-facing seat, your child can move up to a forward-facing seat with a 5 point harness. They should continue to use that seat until they meet its height and weight limits according the manufacturers’ guidelines, however, some children may need a larger 5-point harness seat as they grow and develop. Keep a close watch on the seat’s height and weight limits.

Moving up to a Booster seat is a big move. Make sure your child is ready by height, weight and behavior. You want to make sure they are ready to be able to sit on their own without worry.

For additional information, go to www.UltimateCarSeatGuide.org, or HKQKids.org.

About Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, PC

Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms that has had the privilege of representing more families in the courtroom than any other NEPA firm. The attorneys at HKQ Law have been honored as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms by US News and World Reports, and have received the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbel. HKQ Law was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.

The firm’s Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joe Quinn, Jr., has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history, totaling over a half billion dollars on behalf of injured clients. The Personal Injury Team focuses on a wide array of personal injury claims and civil litigation, including medical malpractice, auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, unsafe vehicles, dangerous or defective products, workplace injuries (worker's compensation), construction site accidents, claim denials by insurance companies, dangerous drugs, defective children's products, nursing home abuse and neglect, and falls due to unsafe conditions (slip and fall).

Attorney Joseph A Quinn, Jr. is one of only 100 attorneys in the United States (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) honored with membership in the Inner Circle of Trial Advocates, and one of only 500 attorneys worldwide chosen to be a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since the program began and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since the publication was established in 1987. Best Lawyers also named him top personal injury attorney for Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. In addition, Best Lawyers, in conjunction with U.S. News & World Report, has designated HKQ a Tier 1 Best Law Firm for personal injury and medical malpractice litigation in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Since the inception of the firm, the Commercial / Corporate Team led by Attorney Allan Kluger has provided comprehensive, integrated legal services to many of Northeastern and Eastern Pennsylvania's largest corporations, businesses, banks, non-profits and institutions, handling matters involving labor and employment, wills, trusts and estate planning, estate administration, elder law, commercial transactions, residential and commercial real estate, zoning, land use and development, telecommunications, mediations and arbitrations, commercial litigation, title insurance, business planning and business succession, corporate/business structuring, employment discrimination law for employers, banking, creditor’s rights, finance, lender liability defense, covenants not to compete, construction law, mergers and acquisitions and other business matters.

Additional information can be found at www.HKQLaw.com or by calling (800) 760-1529.

				

 

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