First-time parents have several concerns when it comes to protecting their child should they become involved in an auto accident.  With the number of supplies that parents must purchase to take care of a child, finding the right car seat can become an overwhelming task.

There are several important factors to consider when buying a car seat for your child.  The primary concern for most parents when looking to buy a car seat is how will the seat will protect their child who could possibly get injured in an auto accident.  All car seats in the United States have to pass a federal crash test, conducted by the NHTSA, before they can be sold.  If you are looking at car seats with a specific budget in mind, you should be able to rest assured that even the cheapest car seat must pass this car crash test in order to be available for sale.

However, recently there have been several concerns about the thoroughness of the car safety tests.  As auto accident lawyers, we highly encourage the auto industry and the government to keep the safety of children in mind in the event of an auto accident and increase the thoroughness of these car crash tests.

Choosing the safest car seat for your child depends specifically on your child’s height, weight, and age.  Each car seat has a specific weight limit listed, so it should not be a guessing game for you.  But there are some approximate guidelines you can use in order to ensure that you purchase the safest car seat you can afford.  Rear-facing car seats tend to be used for children up to 20 pounds or about 1 year old, although there are many rear-facing car seats that can accommodate a higher weight.  Generally, the child’s head should be one or more inches below the top of the rear-facing car seat.  The child’s head should never come above the top of the car seat, as this can result in serious injuries in the event of an auto accident.

Additional car seat purchase considerations is whether the seat will fit properly in your particular vehicle.  If the store allows you, ask to try the floor model in your vehicle before purchasing the car seat.  There should be only a tiny amount of wiggle room from side-to-side when positioned correctly in your automobile, but no more than an inch.  If not, be sure to check the return policy so you do not end up with a car seat that you cannot use.

If you find a used car seat for sale, make sure that the previous owner knows the exact history of the car seat and make sure you buy it from someone you trust (a Craigslist ad may not be the best place to find a used car seat, for example).  Checking the history of a used car seat is just as important as checking the history of a used car when buying.  Having a “lemon” for a car seat when involved in a serious auto accident could result in major and unnecessary injuries or even the death of your child.

One question you should ask is whether the car seat has been involved in a car accident.  Even if you see no visible damage, there may be unseen damage that can put your child in greater risk should you get into a car accident.   Another important fact to know is whether or not the particular model of the car seat has been recalled.  You should be able check car seat recalls from as far back as 1990 by visiting the website:

Years ago, we had a major automobile accident in which our client’s automobile spun around at a very high rate of speed (like a “child’s top”).  The infant car seat buckle failed and the child literally went through the glass on the side of the car and landed in the middle of a busy intersection.  Fortunately, the child did not die.  When we asked the child’s parent how the car seat was acquired, the response was basically that it had been left abandoned at a construction job site.  Obviously, this is in contradiction to all of this article’s suggestions.

In the event of a car accident, the use of a car seat can make the difference between life and death for your child.  Our car accident lawyers recommend that all parents do the necessary research on their child’s car seats so that their child is protected as much as possible in the event of an auto accident.  As parents, your child’s safety, both on and off the road should be your top priority.

Call us now at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney after you get into a car accident and find out how we can help you.  We speak English and Spanish, and we look forward to providing advice for your case.   No fee if no recovery.

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