Across the country, three children under the age of 13 die each day in auto accidents, according to federal government statistics. This sobering data is even more saddening when you consider that many of the deaths could be avoided by the proper use of child safety seats.
Children are at a much greater risk for death or serious injury when they ride unrestrained, or in the wrong type of restraint, or a restraint that is installed improperly. More than half of the children killed in auto accidents are totally unrestrained, according to government statistics. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that child safety seats used in passenger cars reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.
South Carolina’s child passenger restraint law requires that:
- Children from birth to 1 year old, or who weigh less than 20 pounds, must be secured in a rear-facing child safety seat.
- Children 1 through 5 years old weighing at least 20 pounds and less than 40 pounds must be restrained in a forward-facing child seat.
- Children 1 through 5 years old weighing 40 to 80 pounds must be secured in a belt-positioning booster seat.
- Children under the age of 6 are not required to be in booster seats if they weigh more than 80 pounds or if they can sit with their backs against the car’s seat and bend their legs over the seat edge without slouching.
- Children under 6 may not sit in the front passenger seat. However, this restriction does not apply if the vehicle has no rear passenger seats or if all other rear passenger seats are occupied by children less than 6 years old.
Violators are subject to a $150 fine. This law does not apply to taxis, church, school and day care buses, or commercial vehicles.
Given the safety risks, the South Carolina legal requirement for child safety seats should be seen as the minimum standard.
- Child safety specialists have the following safety tips for protecting your child:
- Always choose a car safety seat based on your child’s age, height and weight, and follow the car seat manufacturer’s installation instructions;
- Use a rear-facing infant seat in the rear passenger area from birth to 12 months, or as long as your child is within the height and weight limits of the seat;
- When your child outgrows the infant seat, install a forward-facing child safety seat in the rear passenger area and continue to use the seat until they outgrow it;
- Switch to a booster seat in the rear passenger area when your child outgrows the child safety seat, otherwise the adult seat belt may not fit properly;
- Continue using a rear passenger booster seat, even up to age 12, until your child is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly, which should lie snug across the chest without crossing his or her neck or face, and snug across the upper thighs.
Contact the Auto Accident Law Firm of Bice Law
If you have suffered injury from a vehicle accident, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law. We investigate the accident records or scene in order to interview key witnesses and document evidence before it has been destroyed or removed. We’ll review your medical records and evaluate your long-term prognosis to assess the amount of damages that your injury warrants. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. We serve families across both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly. Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling 877-BICE-877 or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a vehicle accident attorney.