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North Carolina Child Safety Seat Laws

child safety seat lawEvery car accident survivor has a unique set of issues to manage. What if the victim is too young to manage an injury claim? When a child or infant is involved in an accident, our Raleigh auto accident attorneys help parents or guardians pursue claims on the minor’s behalf. <embed link> With children’s bodies still developing physically and mentally, the trauma from a car accident at an early age could cause permanent impairment in their development. To prevent children’s injuries in a collision, North Carolina car seat laws regulate the terms under which drivers must provide child restraint systems.

Who is required to use a car seat in North Carolina? Drivers must provide a restraint system for all minors under the age of 16. When it comes to child safety seat laws, there are different age and weight requirements. According to the North Carolina General Statutes, if a driver transports:

A child less than eight years of age and less than 80 pounds in weight shall be properly secured in a weight-appropriate child passenger restraint system. In vehicles equipped with an active passenger-side front air bag, if the vehicle has a rear seat, a child less than five years of age and less than 40 pounds in weight shall be properly secured in a rear seat, unless the child restraint system is designed for use with air bags. If no seating position equipped with a lap and shoulder belt to properly secure the weight-appropriate child passenger restraint system is available, a child less than eight years of age and between 40 and 80 pounds may be restrained by a properly fitted lap belt only.

If a driver neglects to provide proper child safety seats for minors traveling in their vehicle, would this be considered contributory negligence? (North Carolina is one of just a handful of states that has contributory negligence laws, which generally means if an individual’s negligence contributes to their own injury, damage, or loss that they may not be entitled to compensation.) The statutes provide that in situations where a driver fails to secure a minor in a child safety seat, it will not be used as evidence of contributory negligence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years.” Although child safety seats are used in efforts to prevent injuries to children in a car crash, sometimes they cause injuries. Child car seat injuries may be caused by faulty manufacturing, which may result in our Raleigh auto accident lawyers handling a defective product lawsuit against the manufacturer. In these cases, accident experts are typically required to analyze evidence, re-create or simulate the crash with engineer testing facilities, and consult with physicians. Learn about the steps to take after a North Carolina car accident.