Last month, the NHTSA stirred up controversy by increasing the amount of time that children are supposed to remain in rear-facing car seats. The new guidelines are designed to reduce the risk of childhood injury or death in a car accident. Small children are supposed to remain in the rear-facing seat as long as possible, up to three years or until the child reaches the top height or weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Previously, it had been recommended that children remain in the rear-facing seat up to age one.

Some parents and childhood advocates have complained that the new guidelines are too restrictive and that the new requirements may impact the bonding between parents and children. When children are in rear-facing seats, it is less likely that parents will see and acknowledge the child. Rear-facing seat requirements have even been blamed in part for a number of children left in cars and simply forgotten by parents.

Rear-facing child safety seat guidelines were instituted to better protect children from the force of impact. When children are very small their heads are relatively large, their neck muscles very weak, making them more vulnerable to whiplash injuries that can be permanently disabling or fatal. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children age 3-14, but it is hoped that as more parents comply with guidelines these numbers will continue to decrease.

In Ohio, the law states that children under the age of four (or under the weight of 40 pounds) must be in a child safety seat, and until the age of 7 they are required to use a booster seat, or longer if they have not yet reached the height of 4’9″. Failure to comply with these laws can result in a $75 fine for a first offense.

You do your best to keep your children safe in the car, but you cannot protect them from other drivers. If your child has been hurt or killed in a car accident, the personal injury lawyers of Robert. W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA can help you pursue compensation. Please call or email us today to schedule a free case evaluation.