Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death for children in Illinois and around the country, and research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that many of these young deaths would be prevented if more parents and guardians knew how to use car seats and booster seats correctly. Using a car seat the right way reduces the probability of an infant dying in a car accident by 71% according to the CDC, and children between the ages of 4 and 8 are 45% less likely to be seriously injured in a crash if they are restrained by a booster seat as well as a lap belt.
Most child seats used incorrectly
The researchers behind one of the studies cited by the CDC observed how 3,500 booster and child seats had been installed in cars and SUVs. They discovered that only about one in four of them had been installed and were being used correctly. When car seats are not used properly, children are more rather than less likely to be seriously injured or killed in car accidents.
The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act
Most states have laws that require young children to be properly secured in motor vehicles. In Illinois, the Child Passenger Protection Act mandates that children under the age of 2 travel in a rear-facing car seat and children between the ages of two and eight be secured by a suitable restraint system. The penalties for violating the law are a $75 fine for the first offense and a $200 fine for subsequent offenses.
Traveling with children is more stressful than traveling alone, which makes focusing on basic safety issues just a bit more difficult. To reduce the chances of a tragedy, parents and guardians should obey child seat laws, make sure that they use safety equipment strong enough to secure their children and never seat a young child in front of a vehicle airbag.