Injuries to children are unavoidable. Every day, children are exposed to poisons, harmful toys such as bicycles, bullies, and so on. The likelihood of child damage is increased for working parents.
Daycare centers, afterschool programs, and nannies may endanger your child. A general review of child safety legislation and parental responsibility/rights in the event of an injury is provided below.
Seat Belt Requirements for Children
In an automobile, children must always wear a restraint. Every state has its own set of rules regarding child seat belt requirements. Child car seats differ according to age, weight, and height.
Restraints are classified into three stages:
- Infants ride in rear-facing seats.
- Toddlers use forward-facing child safety seats.
- Older children use booster seats.
In addition to restraints, children must sit in the back seat until they reach the age of 13.
What Kinds of Car Seats Are There, and When Should They Be Used?
Car seats are designed based on a child’s age and physical specifications. As children grow, their car seat requirements change, and parents are obligated to follow state legislation at each stage of development.
Although each state has its own set of standards, the following are common criteria for various types of car seats.
Newborns and babies should ride in the vehicle’s back seat in rear-facing seats. Rear-facing car seats are generally required for children under one-year-old or weighing less than 20 pounds; some states require a child to remain in this stage until they are two years old.
Children aged 1 to 4 years and weighing less than 40 pounds should ride in forward-facing seats in the back seat of the vehicle; booster seats lift the child so that they can safely fit into an adult seat belt, and children aged eight and taller than 4’9″ should ride in a booster seat in the back seat of the vehicle.
After passing all stages, children may use seat belts or safety belts. If possible, keep the child in the back seat because that is the safest place in the vehicle.
Your state’s laws may differ from those listed above. It is always a good idea to check your local legislation and schedule a safety inspection with a fire or police station.
What are the Consequences for Violations of Child Car Seat Laws?
The state also determines the penalty for not complying with car seat requirements. Typically deemed a traffic offense, fines for repeated offenses can range from $10 to $500 or more. Some states additionally employ a point system on driver’s licenses to penalize noncompliance.
In some places, drivers may be pulled over if a police officer observes the main crime, such as a car seat violation. In some places, a car seat violation is considered a secondary crime, which means the driver was stopped for another reason, such as speeding. If a police officer observes a car seat violation, both offenses may be cited.
If a person who failed to utilize a car seat is sued for damages resulting from a car accident, the plaintiff will often be unable to use the car seat violation as leverage.
What if I am Unable to Afford a Car Seat?
There are some alternatives if you cannot afford a car seat. A local Safe Kids Coalition, as well as the fire and police departments, may offer car seat donations or reduced-cost car seats, or they may be able to lead you to other local options. Secondhand retailers may also sell car seats, but make sure to have the seat inspected by the fire or police department and to contact the manufacturer to ensure the seat has not been recalled.
Courts will not overlook breaking the law because a parent cannot afford a car seat. It is critical to do all possible to avoid a child safety seat violation citation.
When Can Parents Be Held Criminally Liable for Their Children’s Injuries?
When parents’ negligence, intentionality, or illegal activities cause child injury, they are considered criminally accountable. Typically, parents are not held legally accountable until their child is eight to 10 years old, and accountability ends when the youngster reaches the age of 18.
Child crime can be classified as either civil or criminal. In civil trials, monetary damages are awarded, whereas criminal proceedings include a violation of the law.
Parents are typically held liable for their children’s malicious deeds or property damage. This is referred to as civil parental liability. In these circumstances, parents are only liable for the financial loss the party harmed by their child’s acts suffered.
Parents can be held liable for “contributing to a minor’s delinquency.” Firearms and cybercrime are the two most common criminal responsibility instances. In many states, it is illegal for a parent to leave a firearm within reach of a child. In some areas, parents are held liable for internet crimes like cyberbullying, creating false accounts, identity theft, etc.
In addition to general child welfare laws, numerous states have introduced anti-bullying legislation. If a student is a victim of bullying, they are 7 to 9% more likely to commit suicide.
If a parent has a child who has been bullied and suffered mental or emotional harm, physical injury, or death, they may be able to file a lawsuit. Parents can sue the school or school district for failing to protect their children.
Schools or school districts may also be held liable if a kid falls or is injured as a result of the school’s negligence.
When Can Companies Be Held Liable for Dangerous Toys?
If their child is injured as a result of a defective toy, such as an electric skateboard, parents can submit product responsibility claims. The legal basis for such claims is the designer’s or manufacturer’s negligence.
In such a circumstance, parents must demonstrate the following:
- The product was defective
- The product was flawed due to the designer’s or manufacturer’s negligence
- The youngster was hurt as a direct result of the product’s design or manufacturing negligence
- The injuries sustained by the child resulted in compensable damages
Toy-related injuries happen all too frequently.
The following are the most prevalent injuries:
- Abrasions and bruising
- Fractures of the bones
- Wounds from a piercing
Can I File a Lawsuit for My Child’s Injuries?
If there is evidence of negligence, practically all parents of damaged children have a case. If your child was wounded while under the supervision of another party, you may have a case if negligence occurred.
To establish the legitimacy of your case, your parents must demonstrate three factors:
- The party that was negligent acknowledged responsibility for supervising the youngster.
- Evidence that the caregiver did not appropriately supervise the youngster
- Proof that the child’s damage was directly caused by the supervisor’s failure to supervise properly.
If an injury occurs, anyone who verbally promises to monitor a kid in the absence of a parent may be held liable for negligent supervision. Parties can include teachers, schools, nannies, churches, and other organizations.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Suppose your child has been hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence or willful activities. In that case, you should consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer about seeking compensation for your child’s injuries.