Alabama's child restraint laws are lenient and outdated

Each year, thousands of children across the United States are injured and killed in car accidents. Sadly, many of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented had the children been properly restrained.

According to a new study commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, many parents fail to properly restrain their children using car seats or booster seats. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their safety recommendations for child passenger safety. The new guidelines recommend children remain in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two or until they reach 20 pounds. Additionally, new recommendations were issued related to safe age, height and weight requirements for children riding in a booster seat or front seat.

Unfortunately, Alabama is among those states that have failed to update laws related to the use of child restraints in passenger vehicles. In addition to failing to update these safety laws, drivers found in violation of the current laws receive a weak slap on the wrist in the amount of a $25 fine.

Children who are involved in car or truck accidents that are not properly restrained are often seriously injured. Injuries such as broken bones, head and brain injuries, and neck and spinal injuries can leave a child with a permanent and irreversible injury.

In addition to the emotional trauma involved when a child is injured in a car accident, medical expenses associated with hospital bills and physical therapy can quickly total thousands of dollars. Regardless of current Alabama laws, parents are advised to always ensure their child is properly and safely restrained while riding in a moving motor vehicle.

Source: Examiner, "Alabama child restraint law not obeyed and needs updating," Paul Hamaker, Aug. 7. 2012

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