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Parents Fail to Strap Newborn Babies into Car Seats Correctly

Saturday, October 04, 2014

For many newborn babies, injury risks begin right from the very first car trip from the hospital to the home. According to a new study, newborns are at risk because their parents fail to install the car seat correctly while taking the baby home from the hospital. Children who are not appropriately restrained in a car are at a much higher risk of being killed or suffering injuries in an accident.

The researchers analyzed 167 families with newborn children, and monitored their trip home from the hospital. They found that 93% of the parents actually made at least one mistake, while placing their infant in the car seat. Those mistakes were also made during installation of the car seat.

Some of the more common mistakes while placing the baby car seat, were leaving the safety seat harness too loose with 69% of the parents making these mistakes. Approximately 20% used an after-market product, that was not approved with the car seat and 15% did not know how to adjust the harness.

There were also serious mistakes made in installing the car seat. At least 43% of the parents installed the car seat too loosely, or installed at an incorrect angle. In 23% of the cases, the parents used the safety belt, but did not lock it, and in 17% of the cases, the parents left incorrect spacing between the seat and the front seat.

Not surprisingly, most of these mistakes were made by families who did not speak English or were from a lower economic background. Non-white families or parents who were not married or single women without a partner were more likely to make these mistakes. The study also found that families that had worked together with a certified car safety seat technician were much more likely to install the seat correctly, and position the baby correctly. The correct installation rates were as much as 30% higher in the case of these families.

Distracted Parents Often Ignore Warnings from Teenager Children

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

As a parent, you are the first driving instructor that your child has, and the kind of driving examples that you display for your child could become permanently ingrained in your child's psyche. The distressing results of a new study show that many parents often ignore warnings about distracted driving or intoxicated driving from their teenage passengers in the car.

According to the survey by Liberty Mutual, as many as 42% of teenage passengers admitted that they have found their parents texting while driving, and have tried to get their parents to stop, but their parents simply ignored them, or tried to justify their behavior. As many as 18% asked their parents to stop driving when they were high on weed, but in about 40% of the cases, they got the same reaction.

It's appropriate to wonder whether parents should also be targeted with the same kind of safe driving initiatives, that we usually inundate teenagers with.

Many of the teenagers admitted that they have frequently been passengers in cars operated by parents, who were clearly driving dangerously or in no condition to drive. About 7% of them admitted that they had been passengers in cars driven by parents driving under the influence of pot. About 88% said that they had been a passenger when parents were using a texting device while driving, and 50% admitted that they had seen their parents texting while driving. 16%, said that their parents had operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, with at least one child in the car.

All of these are extremely dangerous behaviors that seriously increase the risk of an accident. They also provide very poor driving examples to young teenagers, who are only likely to believe that these behaviors are acceptable because their parents engage in them.

Buying Safe Used Cars for Teen Drivers

Monday, July 21, 2014

Parents, who are looking for used cars to buy for their teenage driver, have a number of criteria that they need to keep in mind. Teenage drivers have some of the heaviest accident risks, and in fact, for drivers between the ages 15 and 19, accidents are the leading cause of fatalities.

Many Burbank parents prefer to buy used cars because they want their teen to have a chance to learn driving skills, and practice on a used car, before he buys a new car. However, many older cars, which are the kind of cars that are found on most used car lots, do not come with highly sophisticated safety features. With all the focus on forward collision warning systems and adaptive headlights, parents are very often concerned that a used car may not keep their child safe. Their budget doesn't allow them to buy a new car, either.

What should parents do? There are a number of criteria that you can keep in mind while buying a used car to keep your child safe, while staying within your budget. It is not necessary that a safe car should come with a high price tag. There are several vehicles available on the used car market for under $20,000, with excellent ratings for head restraints, side crash protection, as well as head protection to protect from injuries in rollover crashes.

If you can't find a car in your budget that includes these safety features, Burbank car accident lawyers recommend buying a midsize or larger car like a minivan or SUV. Look for the maximum number of safety features that you can include on your budget. If you are buying an SUV however, shell out extra money for an electronic stability control system because these cars are most prone to rollovers. Look for cars that have lower horsepower to discourage speeding, and cars with the highest ratings in your budget.

Quarter of Recalled American Cars Are Not Fixed

Sunday, July 13, 2014

As many as 25% of all recalled automobiles in the United States are not fixed, which means that millions of cars continue to be operated even though they contain potentially dangerous defects.

In many cases, people are not even aware of recalls. Manufacturers make it a point to contact car owners, and mail them recall notices. However, many consumers in Thousand Oaks dispose of this mail, believing it to be junk mail. That means a motorist may not even be aware of any recall involving his vehicle and could be at risk of an accident.

Even when a motorist is aware of a recall, he may not necessarily believe it involves a serious problem. The growing number of recalls in the auto industry is one of the reasons for this. When people are exposed to a seemingly large volume of recall alerts, they are less likely to believe that the recall affecting their vehicle is a serious problem. They, therefore, choose to simply ignore the recall, with possibly dangerous consequences.

According to Carfax, the numbers are really serious. There are as many as 36 million cars currently traveling on American roads that have been recalled, but not yet fixed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the average completion rate for recalls in the United States is approximately 75%. But in the case of older cars, the numbers are much lower. Owners of older automobiles may be much less likely to become aware of a recall, or to take the car in when there has been a recall.

Automobile manufacturers have begun to understand the scope of the problem here. They are working on their own to boost recall response. For instance, Chrysler Group recently began using a system that involves e-mail and phone calls to remind customers to increase recall response rates. As a result of those strategies, the company’s recall response rates shot up to 80%. Other automakers are also experimenting with similar strategies.

NHTSA: Number of GM-Related Fatalities Likely Higher Than 13

Sunday, May 25, 2014

General Motors continues to claim that 13 people were killed in accidents that were directly related to defective ignition switches on several of its automobile models. However, the exact number has been up in the air. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that the number of fatalities related to the defective ignition switches is probably much higher than 13.

It's a declaration by the federal agency that has triggered vociferous criticism against the NHTSA's failure to quickly investigate the defective ignition switches on the GM models, and pressure the company to announce a recall earlier. In fact, when the first reports of the ignition problems on several GM models became known, it appeared that the death tally was around 300. Later the number was found to be false, and General Motors claimed that 13 people had been killed in such accidents.

Now, the federal agency says that it believes more than 13 people were killed in such accidents. According to some safety advocates however, the actual number is probably closer to 100.

This brings us to the question - why did the federal agency delay taking action against the automaker for so long? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the federal regulatory agency that is charged with identifying and monitoring reports of defects in automobiles, and making sure that defective automobiles are off the road. That clearly has not happened in this case. The General Motors recall of defective vehicles includes more than 2 million cars, and as the scope of the scandal has grown, the number of accidents and fatalities has increased from the initial federal tally of six deaths and 22 accidents, to 31 accidents and 13 fatalities.

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