Unrestrained Children in Cars May Constitute Child Abuse

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers weigh in on unrestrained children constituting child abuse. In 2016, 723 children under the age of 12 were fatally injured in car accidents across the country. More than one-third of these children were not properly restrained at the time of their fatal accidents. New legislation would impose harsh penalties on parents who fail to properly secure their children in the car. The bill would permit the Department of Children and Families to investigate parents of unrestrained children who are injured in motor vehicle accidents. The legislation would effectively make not restraining children in the car a form of child abuse. The House is expected to introduce a companion bill soon.

Choosing the Proper Restraint System for Your Child

Research shows that correct use of seat belts and child safety seats helps save young lives. Yet, many parents with best intentions often find child passenger safety guidelines to be confusing. It is important to know that in some cases, using the wrong seat or restraint can be just as dangerous as not using one at all.

There are many resources available with good, up-to-date information about child passenger safety, including AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Infants and toddlers are required to ride rear-facing until they reach the height and weight restrictions allowed by the car seat manufacturer.

From there, children graduate to a forward-facing seat with a harness. School-age children ride in a booster seat that positions their seat belt safely. Children under age 13 should ride in the back in a booster seat until they are large enough for their lap and shoulder seat belts to fit correctly.

The right option for your child depends on their age, size, weight, and developmental needs. You can ask your pediatrician or local safety seat expert to check your seat for proper use and installation and to confirm you are using the appropriate seat for your child.

Child Passenger Safety in Maryland

Laws regarding child passenger safety vary from state to state. In the state of Maryland, all children under the age of eight must ride in a child safety seat unless they are 57 inches or taller. Children under age 16 must ride in a child safety seat and wear their seat belt. Violation of these motor laws is considered a standard offense.

Contributory Negligence

Maryland is one of only five United States jurisdictions that still use contributory negligence. That means that if a parent’s negligence contributes in even the slightest way to their child’s injuries in an accident, they are prevented from collecting any recovery at all. Along with possible new legislation that will permit the investigation of parents who fail to properly restrain their children, contributory negligence is just one more reason for parents to buckle their children up every time they get in the car.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman, & Hamilton Advocate for Victims Injured in All Types of Car Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents involving children are especially heartbreaking. Yet, even parents who make child safety a priority may still be involved in a car accident caused by another driver’s carelessness. To obtain the compensation your family deserves for a child’s injuries and pain and suffering, contact the experienced Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Call 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online for a free consultation today.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.