Children are commonly passengers in vehicles that are involved in auto accidents in Jasper, and throughout the U.S. While there is a danger of injury and death for all drivers and passengers, the risk can be more significant for children. This can be due to a number of factors, including children’s softer bones, their weaker neck muscles and larger heads in proportion to their bodies, and the overall fragility of their bodies. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were over 148,000 children injured in car accidents in 2011 alone.
In order to help reduce some of the danger to children who are passengers in motor vehicles, and to increase their safety, Alabama state law requires the proper use of child safety seats and safety restraints. The CDC reports that the use of car seats and seat belts can reduce children’s risk of being injured in car accidents by anywhere from 45 percent to 71 percent, depending on the age group. This can be because car seats can help to absorb the force of the impact and spread it over the body. Additionally, they can protect children from being thrown out of the vehicle, or inside of the vehicle, as well as from being crushed by other passengers.
Under Alabama’s Child Restraint Law, the type of seat and safety restraint required is dependent on the child’s age. The law requires that infants and toddlers, under the age of two years and weighing less than 20 pounds, be properly secured in rear-facing only, or rear-facing convertible, car seats. Furthermore, the seat must be tightly anchored into the vehicle using the vehicle’s anchorage system or lap belts. Toddlers and children, ages five years and younger, who weigh between 20 and 40 pounds must be seated and fastened in a forward-facing or convertible forward-facing car seat. The law stipulates that children between the ages of five and six, and weighing 40 pounds or more, use a booster seat. Between the ages of six and 15, children are required to use the vehicle’s safety belt.
It can be important for drivers to understand the laws regarding child safety seats. This can not only help motorists avoid legal issues, but also help them to ensure that their minor-aged passengers are best protected against injury if they are involved in car accidents.