Two six-week old Michigan infants died in a car crash this November, with one dying at the crash scene and the other losing his life several days after the accident in a nearby hospital. According to The Detroit News, the accident is under investigation, and police are looking into whether the twins were properly restrained in their car seats.
Car accident lawyers in Detroit know that hundreds of lives are saved each year as a result of safely securing children in car seats. Unfortunately, NBC News 11 reports that jackets can interfere with the effectiveness of car seats. As the weather in Michigan grows much colder and more kids are wearing jackets, parents need to understand the impact that a jacket can have on safety and need to take steps to ensure that their young children are properly restrained.
Jackets Can Make Car Seats Less Effective
According to safety experts, when a child wears a thick coat that has lots of extra padding, the harness straps on a car seat will not be tight enough. Children will not be secured tightly enough in their seats, and if a crash happens, the child could be seriously injured or even killed as a result.
To help ensure that your child is properly restrained and not in danger because of his coat, parents are advised to do a test called the “pinch test.” To do this test, take your child’s jacket off. Then, buckle your child into his car seat while he is not wearing the jacket but without tightening the straps. Use your index finger and thumb to pinch the top of the straps. If you are able to pinch an inch of the strap in between your fingers, the harness is too loose as a result of the jacket. You should tighten the car seat’s harness and try again. Once you are certain that the harness is tight enough for your child, you can put the jacket back on and buckle your son or daughter in for the ride.
While this is an important car accident safety tip that can help prevent children getting hurt throughout the winter, parents also need to remember other key tips for car seat safety as well in order to avoid tragedies like the recent Michigan accident. For example:
- Car seats should always be in the rear of the vehicle and never in the front seat.
- Follow manufacturer instructions carefully for securing the car seat. If you are not certain if your car seat is installed correctly, visit your local police station or attend a child safety event where experts will check the seat and make sure it is in the vehicle properly.
- Always buckle your child into his or her safety seat, even if you are taking a very short trip. Most accidents happen close to home and you never want to leave your child unprotected.
By following these tips, parents can hopefully keep their kids safe through the winter season and beyond.
If you’ve been injured in Detroit or the surrounding areas, contact the Law Offices of Goodman Acker for a free case consultation. Call 1-866-366-8567.