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Why car seats are important to prevent childhood injuries

A parent's worst nightmare is an injury that hurts or disables his child. When children are in a vehicle, the risk of injuries increases; the risk of being in an accident is high enough that some parent may not even feel good about traveling often.

Fortunately, there are car seats designed to keep children safe in an accident. When used properly, children can be far safer than others in the vehicle, because they're compartmentalized into the seat and held with a harness.

Car seats are important for a number of reasons besides strapping down your children during the ride. They're designed to hold tiny bodies in the case of a collision, so they don't slip out of a seat belt or face unnecessary injuries from being thrown in the vehicle. Car seats, properly used, reduce the risk of injury by 71 to 82 percent and reduce the risk of death by 28 percent when compared to children wearing seat belts.

Even booster seats are important. As your child ages out of a car seat, the booster puts him at the proper height for the safety restraints. Compared to seat belt use alone, the risk of nonfatal injuries is reduced 45 percent among four to eight-year-old children.

Seat belts protect the body by disbursing the impact across the strongest parts of the body. They prevent children from being thrown if a parent has to swerve, and in a crash, everyone is kept in their seats instead of being thrown from the vehicle.

If you've used a car seat and been involved in an accident, your child should have been fairly well protected. If the seat broke or failed due to a defect, then you may have a case. Additionally, the driver who struck you should be held liable for any injuries or damages suffered in the collision.

Source: Safe Seats 4 Kids American Automobile Association, "Why are car seats important?," accessed July 01, 2016

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