Not Putting Seatbelts on Children Could Constitute Child Abuse in FloridaFebruary 12, 2019
Every parent’s goal is to keep their child secure and safe from harm. One of the riskiest daily activities for many people is simply getting in a car, with dangers ranging from drunk or distracted drivers to speeding and reckless driving. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asserts that car seatbelt use reduces serious injuries and fatalities by almost half.
Yet despite the evidence, a CDC study found that more than 600,000 minor children ride at least once annually without the required restraint or car seat.
In Florida, proposed legislation would now make failure to buckle up a child passenger grounds for a child abuse investigation.
Seatbelts Save Lives
Car accident statistics have consistently demonstrated that seatbelt and child safety seat requirements have saved countless lives. All 50 states have specific seatbelt and child car seat regulations that apply to, at a minimum, children under the age of five.
Some states base the car seat requirements on age while other restraint regulations are based on the child’s weight and size. Penalties for failure to comply vary in each state and range from fines to misdemeanor offenses.
Children and Car Crash Fatalities
In 2016 the CDC reported that more than 128,000 children were injured in auto accidents and more than 700 children under age 12 were killed. Thirty-five percent of the fatalities were potentially preventable, involving children who were not properly restrained.
With significant data to back it up, it is common sense that seatbelt and child safety seats save lives on the road. The Florida State Senate has proposed a means to address the problem of unrestrained child passengers by new legislation, and a similar bill is anticipated to be introduced in the state House.
Parents May be Investigated
The proposed legislation would give the Department of Children and Families the ability to investigate if a parent does not properly secure their child.
Currently there is no mechanism to report or initiate further investigation of the adults responsible. The bill would provide the means for medical providers to report such cases and allow the state Department of Children and Families to follow up.
The bill’s sponsor stated that Florida medical personnel have reported treating children injured in car accidents and not wearing seatbelts. One such provider called the lack of properly restraining a minor child an example of neglect in arguing for better reporting standards.
Know the Law
Parents and those who transport children should familiarize themselves with their state laws and the recommended types of safety systems for children. They include rear-facing and forward-facing car seats for infants and young children, booster seats, and of course seatbelts when the child’s weight and height meet the guidelines.
Any driver should also be aware of their liability and take appropriate steps in particular to ensure that the youngest and most vulnerable passengers are properly secured. If your child has been injured in an accident because an adult failed to properly secure them contact a Media personal injury lawyer to discuss your next steps
Media Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Represent Victims of Automobile Accidents
A Media accident lawyer from the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello has a track record of experience representing injured clients whose lives have been affected following a car accident. From our Media office we represent clients in Media, West Chester, and Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Please contact us with our online form or call us at 610-892-4940 for a free consultation to discuss your case.