Arizona Child Car Seat Guidelines
Car seats are essential safety equipment for young children, and Arizona parents need to know the state’s laws concerning child safety seats. It’s important to buy the right kind of seat for your vehicle and for the size of your child. It’s also crucial to know when to replace a child safety seat and know your rights as a consumer if your child suffers injuries due to a defective product. Properly fitted car seats are the best way to keep your child safe in the event of a car accident.
Arizona Laws for Child Safety Seats
All children under five years old must ride in child safety seats while in motor vehicles. Additionally, children under the age of eight who are also less than four feet nine inches tall must also ride in child safety seats. A police officer may stop a driver to check if an unrestrained child is old enough and tall enough to sit with a regular safety belt.
Different Seats for Different Kids
It’s important for parents to purchase appropriate safety seats for their children. A good rule of thumb is to keep young children in rear-facing seats for as long as possible, typically until they reach more than 20 pounds in weight. Children over one year but who cannot yet walk should sit in forward-facing car seats. When purchasing a car seat for a child, consider whether it is rear-facing, forward-facing, or interchangeable. You should also carefully check the weight limits for your car seat and choose one appropriate for your child’s weight.
Once a child is too big for an infant carrier-style seat or smaller forward-facing seat, he or she may ride in a booster-style safety seat until he or she weighs at least 80 pounds and is more than four feet nine inches tall. These car seats allow the lap and shoulder belt to secure the child safely.
Replacing Car Seats
A child safety seat generally has a lifespan of six years. However, parents must replace a car seat after it has been through an accident, even a minor fender-bender. The forces that act on the car seat can degrade it and make it unsafe for children. After about six years, a car seat that has not witnessed any accidents still requires replacement for maximum safety.
Product Liability Claims
Car seat manufacturers will issue recalls for defective or unsafe products, but consumers will only receive recall notifications if they register their products. After purchasing a child safety seat, check the manufacturer’s registration requirements and register your product so you receive any applicable recall notices.
In some cases, a parent may have cause to file a product liability claim against a child car seat manufacturer if the device in question was defective and caused injury to a child. In a product liability claim, the plaintiff does not necessarily need to prove that the defendant was negligent. The plaintiff only has to show the court that the device in question is defective and the defect caused the plaintiff’s damages.
Tips for Parents
After doing your research to find the right car seat for your child and registering your purchase with the manufacturer, there are still a few steps you can take to prevent car seat injuries and other issues. First, make sure you install the child restraint system correctly. The manufacturer should have included installation instructions, and most child safety seats include different fixtures for different installation types. For example, some vehicles may not allow for rear-facing seats, while others can accommodate a wide range of child safety seats.
If you are unsure whether or not your child’s car seat is safe, check online for reviews of the seat from other parents, especially if any have any stories about how the seat holds up in an accident. You should also investigate whether or not the manufacturer has faced product liability claims in the past or if there are any pending lawsuits against the company. Parents can also find expert advice for proper car seat installation and seat belt fitting from various resources.
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