I have litigated numerous product liability matters involving defective seat belt allegations over the years. Cases involving deceased or severely injured children are the hardest. As a father of a young girl, my heart goes out to the parents of these children.

My experiences have taught me that there is much confusion among the public concerning the proper use of child safety seats and booster seats. I recently spoke to a mother of an 8 year-old girl who assumed that her tiny girl did not need a booster simply because of her age, without understanding that it is the fit of the seat belt that is most important – age and weight are just guidelines. Booster seats are designed to help the seat belt fit the child. Having the shoulder belt across a child’s neck is not a good idea in an accident. And so I decided to write this blog.

The consequences of improperly routing the seat belt over the shoulder and hips are often underestimated. Seat belts save lives, but they need to be properly worn by an occupant in order to achieve the best outcome in an accident. For example, never, under any circumstances, allow a child to wear the shoulder belt behind the back, or under the arm. This often results in tragedy.

Parents, please take the time to review these videos. They are helpful in explaining the proper use of seat belts, and how to determine whether your child should be in a car seat or booster seat. I promise that you will not be disappointed that you did. Pay particular attention to how the seat belt should fit your child, regardless of the child’s age. You can visit www.safecar.gov for more information. Drive safely.