Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of death among children ages nineteen and under. Despite this danger, in Alabama 4.17% of children under the age of five are not buckled into a car seat when riding in a vehicle. Car seat laws in Alabama are designed to keep children safe and ensure that parents take action to prevent unnecessary harm to their children on the roads.
Alabama Child Car Seat Types
Under Alabama car seat laws, most children are required to be in some type of car seat depending on their age and weight.
Rear Facing Car Seats
Children up to one year old, or twenty pounds, must be strapped into a rear facing car seat, or another model that is infant only or convertible. Some parents worry about their child’s feet touching the back of the vehicle’s seat, but because children can easily bend their knees, it is very rare for an infant child’s legs to be injured when riding in a rear facing car seat.
Front Facing Car Seats
For children between one and five years old, or weighing up to forty pounds, a forward facing car seat is required. Because a car seat with a harness is the safest way for children of this age to ride in a vehicle, parents should try to have their children in a front facing car seat for as long as possible.
Finally, Alabama car seat laws require children five to six years old to be buckled into a booster seat. Even though the law does not require a booster seat after age six, ideally a child will use a booster seat until he or she is between eight and twelve years old because before that age, children are usually too small to safely use the adult seat belts. When using a booster seat, it is very important for parents to remember that using the lap belt alone will not safely restrain their little one–a belt across the child’s chest is also required for the booster seat to do its job.
What happens when you don’t use the right car seat?
The greatest consequence of not using the appropriate car seat is, obviously, is the danger of a child’s life in an accident. In addition to the risk of injury or even death to child passengers, breaking Alabama car seat laws can also result in a ticket and a $25 fine, and possible points against the driver’s license.
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Safely Using a Car Seat to Protect Your Child
Once a parent is using a car seat to protect their child, that seat is still only effective if it is properly installed in the vehicle. Alarmingly, over ninety percent of children’s car seats are not installed correctly. This is a serious danger for children and parents need to be vigilant making sure car seats and buckled in properly. There are many resources available that will check your vehicle to make sure the car seat is correctly installed. For more information on these events, please call 1-800-504-9768. You can also call The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 to find child car seat inspections in your area.
If you or someone you know cannot afford the correct car seat for your child, there are resources in Alabama to assist with this. There are many car seat distribution programs that either provide the appropriate car seat for free, or allow people to rent a car seat. You can find many of these programs online. No matter what it takes, is is crucial that parents follow Alabama car seat laws and always check their children’s safety seats to ensure that everyone can travel as safely as possible on the roads.
Morris Bart Alabama attorneys are experienced in helping parents with auto accident claims.
Dealing with a collision can be a lot easier if you have a good attorney, especially if your child was involved in the accident. Morris Bart Alabama Personal Injury Attorneys have decades of experience dealing with the complexities of insurance claims and car accidents. If you or your child were involved in an accident, call Morris Bart for a free consultation. We’re available 24/7, and we’d like to help you get the money you may deserve.