Safety tips for child passengers, pedestrians and cyclists from San Francisco California Lawyer Attorney for Child Injured in Car Accidents, Auto Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents

Some safety tips for child passengers, pedestrians and cyclists:


1) Never place small children in front seats with passenger air-bags present. The airbag impact can cause injury to the child that weighs less than 40-45 pounds. 


2) Do not place rear-facing child seats with occupants in the front seat with passenger air-bags present.


3) Infants should be properly restrained in rear-facing seats and placed in the back seat until one year of age or over twenty pounds. Some newer rear-facing infant seats will accommodate a child until 35 pounds. Ask your pediatrician or family practice provider if your child is mature enough to sit in a front-facing seat prior to making the transition.  


4) As infants outgrow rear-facing seats, they should graduate to forward-facing seats, but remain passengers in the back seat of a vehicle. The center of the back seat is the safest place for a child. 


5) Children should be properly restrained passengers in forward-facing seats located in the back seat until the age of four or the weight of forty pounds, whichever is later. Their ears should be lower than the top of the back of the seat and their shoulders should be lower than the shoulder strap slots that the restraint system is inserted through. Your child has outgrown the seating system if the child’s shoulders are higher than the strap slots and when the child’s ears are even with the top of the seat.  


6) Children graduate from forward-facing seats to booster seats, in the back seat and remain in booster chairs until the age of eight, eighty pounds or the height of 4’9”.  Booster chairs position children higher in relationship to the shoulder/lap seat belts in cars, so the restraints fit properly to their smaller bodies. The booster chair should position the restraint system properly. Booster chairs should always utilize shoulder and lap straps. If you have an older model car with lap straps only in the back seat, use a travel vest with the lap straps if the manufacturer of the travel vest recommends it. Use a high-back booster chair if your back seat does not have head rests. Backless booster chairs are safe with back seats that have head rests and high back seats.    


7) After the age of eight, eighty pounds or height of 4’9”, make sure the child is seated in the back seat with the seat belts fitted properly with the lap belt across the upper thighs (not the belly) and the shoulder belt across the chest and shoulder, not across the neck. The shoulder belt should not be under the child’s arms or behind the child.


8) Constant adult supervision of children while playing near areas where vehicles may be present will reduce the incidence of child injury and death. 


9) Environmental modifications that include adult supervision, adult and child education programs and improvements in vehicular design (such as back-up alarms or sensing devices) will reduce child morbidity and mortality from motor vehicle accidents and back-over accidents. 


10) Some experts recommend that children should not ride in the front seat until the age of 12. Airbags are hazardous for children under 12 years of age. Because they inflate in head-on collisions with rapid, high amounts of pressure which can deliver a significant blow to the head and face of a child, resulting in more injury. If your older child is sitting in the front seat, position the front passenger seat in the farthest position away from the dash board. An airbag can strike a child hard enough to cause brain or neck injury- even death. Some airbag systems can be turned off easily and should be off while a child is in the front seat.    


11) The safest car seat has a five-point harness system. The harness system should fit snugly. Pay attention to two important details: how the child seat is attached to the motor vehicle and how the child is restrained by the seat belts. The seating system should be tightly installed with a taunt belt position. You should have no more than one inch (side-to-side) motion when placing pressure on the seat from either side. If your seating system recommends the use of locking clips, please use them. Check your safety seat instructions if you are not certain of this requirement. Adjust the restraint system to accommodate the type of clothing your infant or child has on. Winter coats or summer attire may require adjustment to ensure comfort and a snug fit.  


12) A device known as top tethers will reduce the motion of the upper portion of the child seat during a crash and reduce the likelihood of head, neck and spinal cord injuries in children. Check your automobile manual to verify where the tether anchors are located in your vehicle. This feature is present in automobiles made after 2000. Remember, small children and infants have larger heads in proportion to their bodies with smaller neck structures. Verify that the infant/child seat is at the proper angle by checking the angle indicators on the seat for proper usage. If your baby slouches to the side while placed in the seat, use the manufacture recommended positioning devices to ensure proper positioning. 


13) Toddlers may master the ability to undo the child seat. Be aware.


14) Parents should set an example and always wear their safety belts.


15) Teach children to remind other children and adults to wear their safety belts. This approach will increase compliant behavior in children.


16) Stop the vehicle and refuse to continue the trip when children take off their seat belts. This will discourage children from unbuckling their seat belts. 


17) If someone else is driving with your child in the vehicle verify that the individual knows how to properly and safely transport your child.


18) Never allow two or more children to share a seat belt. Only one child should be in one seat belt.


19) Do not use additional products on your seating system unless the manufacturer of the seating system recommends it.


20) Never use a car seat that is old, has visible damage, has no label or model number attached, has been recalled or has missing parts.


21) Replace your child safety seat if it has been involved in a moderate to severe crash.


22) Cyclists should remember to ride with the flow of traffic. Wear bright clothing, have reflection lights and wear helmets. Always signal before you make a maneuver on your bike, so other drivers can anticipate the direction you intend to go.


23) Drivers should remain thoughtful when children on bikes are spotted in the vicinity of roads. Children do not exercise good judgment and may make an impulsive move suddenly. Slow down so you can brake fast enough if need be.  


The Keane Law Firm and You

The Keane Law Firm has the experience and resources to handle a variety of childhood injury cases.  While Christopher Keane and The Keane Law Firm specialize in cases from San Francisco and the State of California, they may also accept worthy cases from other states.  If your child or the child of somebody you know has been the victim of a serious injury, we can work with you hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence.

No matter where your child’s injury occurred, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a no-cost evaluation of your case.  And remember, if you are a professional referring a case to us, 25% of our fee will be donated to the charity of your choice.  Contact Christopher Keane and The Keane Law Firm today, and we can help you seek justice for the injury done to your child.

California child injury lawyers are available to help if you know a child who has been injured.  The Keane Law Firm has been recognized as having an AV rating - the highest legal ability and ethics rating available, and Christopher Keane has been rated as one of the leading plaintiff's lawyers in America as a "tireless advocate for injured children".  Contact him today to see if he can help your child. 


The Keane Law Firm
530 Jackson Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, California 94133
Phone: (415) 398-2777
Toll free: (888) 592-KIDS (5437)
Fax: (415) 520-2282
E-mail: [email protected]


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Christopher Keane
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California Child Abuse and Child Injury Lawyer