Too often, when people die in car crashes, they do so because they failed to use the vehicle’s safety equipment properly. A recent study determined that 43 percent of children who lost their lives in car crashes from 2010 to 2014 were not restrained by safety equipment or were not restrained properly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a similar statistic. According to the agency, 35 percent of the kids who were 12 years old or younger who died from a car crash in 2015 were in a vehicle unrestrained. Like the country’s other states, Pennsylvania has child car seat laws in place.
About the Child Car Seat Law in Pennsylvania
Safety studies inspired Pennsylvania officials as well as regulators in a slew of other states to be stricter when it comes to kids riding in cars. The law requires children who are 2 years old or younger to be secured in a safety seat that faces the rear of the car. This position requirement is in place until children outgrow the rear-facing car seat’s height and maximum weight limits.
Safety experts confirm that when children are in accidents, their risk of serious injury or death drops dramatically if they’re facing backward. Doni Lee Spiegel, AAA Central Penn’s public relations manager, said, “Young children, their bodies aren’t designed to withstand impacts of a vehicle collision. The rear facing car seat, the shell of the car seat protects their head, their neck, their shoulders and their spine in the event of an accident.”
In Pennsylvania, the safety requirement became a law on August 12, 2016. However, state officials directed law enforcement agents to give people warnings during the law’s first year, so residents could become aware of it. Since this first grace year has come to a close, those who violate the law may be required to pay a $75 fine in addition to costs and fees.
Eight states now have a law on the books regarding rear-facing safety seats. Pennsylvania joins California, New Jersey, Connecticut, South Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Oklahoma in establishing this regulation.
Today’s Car Safety Equipment
According to child safety research, those who transport children via car should have a rear-facing car seat installed in the vehicle’s backseat for children who are 2 years old or younger. These seats generally feature a harness, and most of them are portable, allowing babies to be moved from the inside of the car to another location without removing them from the seat.
Forward-facing car seats have many of the same features as rear-facing ones, but a forward-facing unit is made for children to be positioned toward the front of the car. These seats also have a safety harness. In most cases, children who are from 2 years old to 5 years old sit in this type of seat.
Booster seats are basic devices that increase the height of child, ensuring that he or she can be safely secured by the vehicle’s traditional safety equipment. A seat belt is designed to fit across a person’s body in a certain way. Children who are 5 years old or older typically need booster seats. Kids should continue to use this type of safety seat until they grow to 57 inches tall or taller.
Seat belts are a vehicle’s standard safety equipment. In cars, children use the same one that automakers design for adults. Because of this, it’s critical for parents to know the proper placement of a standard seat belt for their child. Seat belts should be snug across the upper thighs and tight across the chest area and shoulder. If a seat belt is being used to secure a child, the driver should make sure that the safety device is not resting across the stomach or along the neck. If it is, then the child should be sitting in a booster seat.
Inspections for Car Seat Safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, strives to save lives through safety inspections. To this end, the agency provides car seat inspections in different locations around the Pittsburgh area. At these sites, parents can get help when it comes to determining the proper child safety seats for their kids. The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh EMS Training Division offer this service. Law violators may require aid from a skilled attorney like Karl Heideck.
Karl Heideck: Experienced Attorney and Talented Writer
Heideck attended the Swarthmore College in 2003 where he earned his bachelor’s degree. Later, he went to Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law. He graduated in 2009 with a Juris Doctor degree. Today, Karl Heideck specializes in litigation, risk management and compliance law. Not only does he specialize in these areas of the law, but he is also a contract attorney. Heideck has been listed by the Hire Counsel, and he practices in and around Philadelphia.
Karl Heideck has practiced as a project attorney for Pepper Hamilton LLP. He has also held one of Conrad O’Brien’s associate positions. While there, Heideck became experienced in filing and handling complaints as he studied general law.
Along with being a knowledgeable attorney, Karl Heideck is a skilled writer who shares his knowledge on his personal blog. He keeps it updated with legal news and regulation changes that may affect the public. Heideck’s blog is especially useful for Pennsylvania residents.
Safety Laws Serve a Purpose
AAA reports that the leading cause of injury and death for kids is car accidents. When children are safety secured in car seats, their risk of injury decreases by as much as 82 percent while their risk of death is reduced by up to 28 percent. Pennsylvania’s child safety seat laws are in place to keep kids from becoming harmed or killed in a car accident. Those who fail to follow the law will face a fine. When it comes to legal assistance, it’s best to hire an attorney who has the experience to provide effective aid. Karl Heideck is such an attorney.