To keep children safe in cars, smaller kids should be placed in child safety seats. The correct child safety seat should be selected based on a child’s age and weight. Children should ride in the back seat of vehicles. Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine suggests it is advisable for children to be placed in the rear-center seat for maximum safety.
An experienced car accident lawyer knows the rear-center seat is the appropriate place for a child in a vehicle because this location reduces the risk of a child absorbing the maximum impact from either a head-on or T-Bone (side impact) collision. A child in a front seat is at risk of airbag injuries and serious injury in a head-on crash, while a child behind a passenger or driver’s seat is at risk when a vehicle is hit from the side.
Parents can put their kids in the correct seat and use a car seat. Unfortunately there is no way to prevent all injuries or deaths from occurring. Car seats are not 100 percent effective and currently are not even being crash tested thoroughly to ensure they provide adequate protection when a T-Bone accident occurs.
T-Bone Accidents May Present Added Risks to Children
Broadside, or T-Bone collisions, typically happen at intersections and are named because the cars form a T shape. One car going straight is struck in the side by a car turning or coming from a cross street. The side of a car provides limited protection because it is thin and unable to crumple to absorb force from the striking car. The striking car can intrude into the vehicle it hits. Side airbags may provide some protection but aren’t typically as effective as front airbags in head-on accidents.
Since there are so many factors making T-Bone collisions especially dangerous, parents may assume car seats are carefully tested to ensure maximum protection is being provided to their children if a broadside accident occurs. This is not the case. There are currently minimal tests performed to determine if car seats are standing up effectively to the force of side impact accidents.
Safe Rides 4 Kids indicates National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) efforts are moving forward to try to improve crash testing for side impact accidents for car seats restraining children up to 40 pounds (these car seats are typically used for children up to four years in age).
The new crash tests will detect how well car seats work to prevent child injuries to the head, shoulders, and chest. The tests will be performed with the car seats on specially designed sleds instead of in cars to ensure the safety features of the cars are not impacting test results.
Five kids under four die and 60 are injured on average each year because of T-Bone collisions. If NHTSA rule changes move forward, these children would be safer during each and every car ride.