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Bay Area Car Accidents and Child Safety Seat Laws

In the San Francisco Bay area, people are constantly driving. You’re in the car, running from one place to another and it can seem like days on end are spent on the go. With so much time spent in your vehicle, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure your children are properly buckled in their child safety seats. Following some simple car seat safety tips can literally save your child’s life.

Are you ready to hear a frightening statistic? Here you go: 7 out of 10 kids are not properly buckled into their safety seats. That’s an alarming number that can easily lead to a tragic ending should your child be injured in a San Francisco car accident. In fact, another sad statistic is that car accidents are the number one killer of children.

As life becomes more and more hectic, no one expects they will be involved in car accidents or traffic collisions while driving in the Bay Area. Most people just don’t think it can happen to them…until it does. The best thing to do is to plan ahead, making sure your child is as safe as possible while in the car.

What is the California Law on Child Safety Seats?

The state of California actually passed a new child passenger safety law in 2012. It specifically states that children are required to ride in the back seat in a properly installed and secured child passenger safety restraint. They must continue to follow this rule until they are at least 8 years old or they are a minimum of 4 feet 9 inches in height.

California lawmakers made revisions to their child safety seat law due to solid data that proves children are at a greater risk of injury in car accidents when they ride in the front seat of a vehicle. In fact, it has been shown that the risk of injury during a car accident can be reduced by up to 33 percent when children are in the back seat.

Are There Some Exemptions to California’s Law?

As with most laws, there are some exceptions to the rule. In California, you may let your child ride in the front seat of the car if:

You can’t install a child restraint system properly in the rear seat. For instance, let’s say your car is equipped with only lap belts in the back seat, but has lap and shoulder belts in the front seat. If your child must ride in a booster seat, the only way to properly install the child safety restraint system is to use a lap and shoulder belt. Under this circumstance, your child may ride in the front seat of the car while sitting in his or her booster seat.

Your car has no rear seats. This one is kind of obvious, right? If you have no rear seats to install a child safety restraint system, your child will naturally have to ride in the front seat.

Your rear seats are side-facing jump seats. Your child will need to ride in the front seat in this case, as child safety restraints are never to be installed on side-facing vehicle seats.

Your child cannot ride in the back seat for certain medical reasons. If your child suffers from a specific medical condition that would not allow them to ride in the rear seats, your pediatrician will need to supply written verification to allow your child to ride in the front seats.

Dangers of Older Child Safety Seats

When you’re considering buying an older model child safety seat, you should know the newer devices all have expiration dates attached to them. While it may seem strange that a safety seat would have an expiration date, it does make great sense. Plastic that sits in hot cars is constantly heating up to extreme temperatures, then cooling at night. All the expansion and contraction has to take its toll on the integrity of the plastic. Once a critical part breaks, becomes too weak or simply fails due to its aging process, your child could easily be put in harm’s way should you be the victim of a car accident.

If the Worst Happens, Call an Experienced San Francisco Car Accident Lawyer

Even if you and your children are buckled up properly and obey the laws of the road, injuries from car accidents can still happen. Unfortunately, car accidents involving children are a daily occurrence in the Bay Area. If your child has been hurt in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, you need a trusted San Francisco car accident lawyer who will fight for the rights of your injured child. You need the Law Offices of Nelson Barry. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.


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