Every year, nearly 1,000 children are killed in car accidents. In fact, car accidents are the second leading cause of death for children in the US. Proper installation and use of child and infant car seats could save the life of your little one in an accident. Too many children have died because they were not in the proper seat or because a seat was not installed correctly.

When you are facing the aftermath of a car accident, work with a New Orleans car accident lawyer to best understand your options and seek compensation for injuries or fatalities.

Check out these car seat safety laws and tips.

Understanding the Louisiana Child Restraint Laws

While car seats often come with specific instructions for how to properly install and secure them, it’s a good idea to be familiar with the law. The state’s laws dictate ages for restraint and the type of restraint you should be using.

These laws are in place for a reason: to help keep your child safe. While it may be a nuisance at times, it is absolutely imperative that you know and use restraints for the safety of your child.

  • Children under the age of 2 must be in a rear-facing car seat
  • Children 2-4 should be in a forward-facing car seat with an internal harness
  • Children 4-9 must use booster seats and be restrained with a lap/shoulder belt
  • Children ages 9-12 may transition from the booster seat to the adult seat belt as their size allows. For safety, their knees should bend comfortably over the seat edge, back should be flush against the seat back, and the belt should cross their chest (not their neck).

Child Car Seat Installation

It is not enough to just put your child in the appropriate car seat and call it good. This car seat also needs to be properly installed. Otherwise, it can be ineffective in the event of a car accident.

Start by reading your manual and understanding any instructions the manufacturer provides for proper installation. The manual is also a great place to learn what sizes the seat can handle.

Use these tips to properly install the seat:

  • Ensure the car seat works for your child’s weight and height
  • Always secure tightly. The latch system is great for long-term installation, but a seatbelt may be used if you get it tight and secure.
  • Check the recline angle of the seat and adjust as needed
  • Ensure the harness is the right length to snap and fit snugly
  • Fasten the clip across the chest at armpit level, never at the stomach
  • Give the seat a shake test to ensure it’s firmly in place
  • Work with a local certified inspector to ensure the seat is properly installed and safe
  • Do routine checks to ensure the car seat remains safely installed

Car seats should always be replaced following an accident.

Knowing When You Need an Attorney

Despite your best efforts, accidents may still happen, and you may need to hire a New Orleans car accident lawyer. Working with an experienced lawyer will help you better understand your options and whether you could be eligible for compensation. There are many details to consider, so consult with an attorney to find out if filing a claim is a good fit for your situation.