In the U.S., car accidents are the leading cause of death for children under the age of 18. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, many child fatalities caused by car accidents can be prevented with proper child safety restraints.
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Child Safety Restraints
According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control, 602 children under age 12 died in motor vehicle accidents in 2014, and more than 121,300 children were seriously injured. Studies show that over 600,000 children under age 12 have traveled in a car at least once without any type of safety restraints. Almost 40 percent of child fatalities involve children who are not properly contained or wearing any type of safety restraint.
Child safety restraints, car seats, booster seats and seat belts, should be appropriate for a child’s age, weight and height to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities in car accidents. A car accident lawyer Illinois commonly sees the use of restraints that are not age appropriate.
- Car Seats – Studies show that fatalities to infants under age one are reduced by 70 percent with proper car seats. Infants who weight less than 20 pounds, or are under age one, should be placed in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of the car.
- Booster Seats – Booster seats are recommended for children aged 4 to 8. In Illinois, the Child Passenger Protection Act requires that all children under the age of 8 must be protected by an appropriate safety restraint system.
- Seat Belts – Seat belts are recommended for most children over 8 years old. For maximun safety, children should ride in the back of a car, in the middle seat. Properly fitted seat belts reduce child fatality risks in car accidents by 50 percent.
Illinois Child Safety Laws
According to Illinois laws, children riding in cars must be safely and properly restrained by car seats, booster seats or seat belts. In addition, children under the age of 6 may not be left unattended in a motor vehicle, unless they’re accompanied by a person who is 14 years old or older.
Violations of Illinois child safety laws are considered a Class A misdemeanor and can result in up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines. Subsequent violations are considered felonies that require legal representation by a car accident lawyer Illinois. Felony convictions have prison terms from two to ten years and fines of up to $25,000.