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Do Michigan Car Seat Laws Protect A Child In A Car Accident?


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Currently in the State of Michigan, child passenger safety laws are not specific as to when parents or adult drivers need to use rear and forward facing child seats, booster seats or seat belts for their 16 and under child passengers. For many, this leaves a lot of open ended questions as to whether or not a car seat is properly being used and a child is being properly placed in the vehicle to maximize safety in the incident of a car accident.

Below are the rules set for child car seats under Michigan’s existing law, MCL 257.710d(1) and (2) and 257.710e(3)(a) and (b), (5):

  • Children 8 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age must be secured in a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt.

  • Children who are between the ages of 4 and 8 years old and less than 4’ 9” tall must be secured in a restraint system that complies with the vehicle and child restrain manufacturers’ standards.

  • If a child is less than 4 years old, he /she must be secured in a child restraint system in the rear of the vehicle. If all seats in the rear of the vehicle are occupied by other children, the child should be positioned rear-facing in the front seat of the vehicle with the airbag deactivated.

As a parent or adult driver these laws can be confusing. In addition, current Michigan child passenger safety laws are not in line with the recommendations by the federal government and several people believe the laws need to be changed in order to properly protect our children.

According to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts (MTCF), in 2014 there were 4,437 children aging from 0 – 15 years that suffered injuries in a car accident. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Under 1 year old: 197 babies injured

  • 1 – 3 years of age: 512 children injured

  • 4-10 years of age: 1,835 children injured

  • 11-15 years of age: 8,446 children injured

There is question as to whether or not our car seat laws are to blame and if our laws were more precise and detailed that less injuries to children would be a result.

We took some strides last year when the Michigan Senate updated rules to car seats with the approval of Senate Bill 1135. However, the House of Representatives did not pass the law. Many believe that Senate Bill 1135 was a change in the right direction. This is because Senate Bill 1135 provided specific guidelines to parents and adult drivers as to what car seats should be used and how they should be positioned base on age and weight. What do you think? Do you think a change in law would help prevent less injury to children involved in a car accident?

What To Do If Your Child Is Injured In A Car Accident

At the law firm of Goodman Acker, P.C. our Michigan car accident attorneys frequently represent children and their families who have suffered injuries as a result of a crash. Some of the most common injuries include brain or closed head injuries, broken bones and fractures, spinal cord injuries, and more. For some, these accidents can be a life-changing event to a child who has a whole life ahead of them. Traumatic injuries such as a brain injury or spinal cord injury may result in life-time care and preventing a child from being able to do day to day tasks for the rest of their lives. In addition, costs for the treatment can also be a financial burden, especially since it is unexpected.

If you or a loved one has a child who suffers injuries as a result of a Michigan car accident call our top rated attorneys today to discuss your options. You may be entitled to damages for their pain and suffering as well as payment of their lifetime medical bills. Call our office today at (248) 286-8100 to learn your rights and see how we may be able to help you and your child. We offer a free, no obligation consultation and will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have.