Kyle David Miller was three-years-old when he was killed in a collision with an impaired driver who ran a stop light and hit his family’s minivan. His mom Christine believes his death was preventable had he been in a five-point harness car seat instead of a booster seat as he was thrown through the window and landed more than 30 feet away from the van. She blames herself for not knowing that her son was not in the correct car seat for his age and warns other parents of the importance of child car seat safety to prevent another family from going through what she did.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the United States and most of these fatalities are preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Journal of Pediatrics released a report in May that stated 43 percent of children killed in accidents weren’t properly restrained at the time. When used correctly, car seats can reduce the risk of death and injury by 71 percent.
Unfortunately, not everyone heeds this call. In July, a six-year-old boy, Brian Pellegrino, was killed when his mom crashed and he was not in a car seat or wearing a seat belt. His 35-year-old mother, Flor De Paz, was charged with failure to have a child properly restrained in a car seat, failure to stop or yield, and reckless endangerment, according to police and court records.
Child Passenger Safety Week is September 17 through September 23, 2017 and is an ideal time to get your car seat checked. For a list of child safety seat inspection stations in Long Island, go to http://www.safeny.ny.gov/seat-per.htm
In addition, there are five things you can do at home.
Right Seat. Check the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height. Remember, your car seat has an expiration date. Just double check the label on your car seat to make sure it is still safe.
Right Place. Kids are VIPs, just ask them. We know all VIPs ride in a back seat, so keep all children in a back seat until they are 13.
Right Direction. Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until at least age two. When he or she outgrows the seat, move your child to a forward-facing car seat and make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower attachments. Locate the exact height and weight limit on the side or back of your car seats and remember, kids who ride in rear-facing seats have the maximum protection for the head, neck and spine. Kids can remain in some forward-facing car seats until they’re over 65 pounds, depending on the car seat limits. At that time, you will switch to a seat belt to secure the car seat.
Inch Test. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base. Can you move it more than an inch side-to-side or front-to-back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check car seat manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you’re good to go.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an automobile accident, contact Rosenberg & Gluck, personal injury attorneys, for a free, confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options.