Seatbelts save lives – period. These simple devices keep drivers and passengers from being thrown against other passengers and objects inside a vehicles, in addition to being thrown from vehicles in high-speed collisions. Children, like adults, are protected by seat belts worn in the back seat as adults are protected by the same devices in the front seat.
The state of Oklahoma is ranked 50th in the entire nation in keeping children ages 8 to 17 protected. Until just recently, Oklahoma was the only state in the Union that did not have a law mandating children 8 years of age and older must wear a seatbelt in the backseat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year across the U.S., hundreds of passengers lose their lives in car crashes while not wearing a seatbelt and would likely have survived if they had worn one.
Children, car seats, and safety belts
Up until about age 3, children generally ride in rear facing car seats. When a crash occurs, rear facing car seat provides optimal protection for children in this age group. If a child outgrows the seat because of weight or height increases, he or she may advance to a forward facing seat.
For children in the range of 4 to 7 years old, a forward facing car seat in the back seat is the likely choice. The harness is on the seat must be secured properly over the child’s chest, shoulders, and hips for the seat to provide proper protection.
The next step up is a booster seat, which is usually the seat of choice for children ages 8 to 12 years old. The seat must be elevated to the height which enables the belt to be restrained across the chest and waist properly.
By age 13, most children can advance to using a standard seatbelt without any special seat involved.
Prior to about age 13, standard safety belts do not fit comfortably over the chest of children, and as such, children are more likely to push the belts under their arm or behind their back. If a car crash occurs with a belt placed in these improper positions, the child may suffer significant injuries to the head, neck, or internal organs, or even lose his or her life.
Why wearing a seat belt in the back seat is so important
The Governors Highway Safety Association issued a report stating that 400 of the 803 people killed in car crashes across the United States in 2018, who were not wearing seat belts would have survived with seatbelts properly fastened.
Wearing seatbelts in the front and back seat is important during a collision event. Seatbelts worn in the backseat can prevent child passengers from ejection or violently impacting the seats in front of them in addition to other objects inside the vehicle, including the front windshield.
Seatbelts distribute the forces of a crash on the body, while the vehicle itself absorbs the impact of the crash onto its crumple zones. The body receives the force of the crash onto some of its strongest parts, including the pelvis, rib cage, and shoulders.
If you or your child has suffered serious injuries in a car crash in the greater Tulsa, OK area, attorney Jacob Biby is the strong advocate you need. To arrange a free consultation about your case, call Biby Law Firm today at 918.574.8458 or send us a message through our contact form.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.