Child Restraint Systems: The Right Seat, The Right Size, the Right Use

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Pursuant to the Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act, all child passengers under the age of 8 years old are required to be restrained by a car or booster seat. However, use of a child restraint system is only the first step in protecting your most precious cargo in the event of a motor vehicle accident. As the National Institute of Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated, the key to safety is “the right seat, the right size, the right use.” Our injury and accident attorneys understand that it may be difficult for parents to determine if they are using the appropriate car seat in the proper manner. The foregoing is provided by the lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. to guide Chicago parents in protecting their child passengers, in hopes that it may aide in the reduction of child car seat injuries and fatalities that occur as a result of a car accident.

Choosing a car seat that is both age and size appropriate for your child can drastically decrease the likelihood of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Further, considerations as to age and size must be an ongoing process as your child grows. Our injury and accident lawyers recognize that although a car seat might be suitable for a child of a certain age, it may not be suitable for that child’s size. The safety risks involved encompass both car seats that are too large for the child, and therefore may not protect against injuries in the event of a collision, as well as car seats that the child has outgrown.

The NHTSA, and the injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. as well, urge parents to fill out the manufacturer’s registration form, and submit this form to the manufacturer immediately following the purchase of a new car seat. By submitting such registration, and keeping all contact information current, you can ensure that you will be notified of important safety recalls pertaining to your specific child restraint device.

Additionally, parents are advised against purchase of second hand car seats, for two important reasons. First, parents may be unable to register second-hand car seats, and therefore may be unaware of important safety recalls. Second, parents who purchase second-hand car seats may have no way of knowing if the car seat was involved in a prior accident. In the event that a parent elects to use a second-hand car seat, the NHTSA provides a list of safety recalls, listed by manufacturer. However, the injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. still advise parents in Chicago, and surrounding cities, against the use of second-hand car seats, due to the risks associated with car seats that were damaged in a previous accident.

If you are concerned as to if you are using the appropriate car seat for your child passenger in an appropriate manner, or to verify that such car seat is functioning properly, the NHTSA provides a list of locations in Chicago, and surrounding Illinois cities, where certified inspector are available to inspect your child car seat and show you how to correctly install and use it. NHTSA currently lists 384 inspection stations in Illinois. To find a station near you, please visit

www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm.

Often times, injuries to child passengers may still occur, despite proper use of the proper child restraint system. There may be circumstances where a manufacturer has failed to recall a defectively designed device, or where the device was defectively manufactured. In other scenarios, the user guide provided by the manufacturer fails to provide sufficient instruction or warning regarding the child restrain device. The accident and injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. represent clients in products liability actions against the manufacturers of devices that cause injury or death to a child passenger.

If your child was injured or killed as a result of a motor vehicle accident involving a car seat restrained child passenger, contact the Chicago injury and wrongful death attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. for a free personal injury consultation today at (773) 516-4100, or online at www.zneimerlaw.com.