Florida Personal Injury Attorneys: Could a Seatbelt Actually Harm Your Child?

by Carmen Dellutri on January 17, 2012

Sarasota car accident lawyerWhile seat belts are intended to protect children in the event of a Florida car accident, they also pose the risk of entanglement. In some cases, a child within reach of a seat belt may become entangled if he or she pulls the seat belt all the way out and wraps the belt around his or her head, neck, or waist.

How Do Seat Belt Accidents Occur?

Most seat belts have a locking mechanism that is triggered when the seat belt is pulled all the way out from the retractor. This mechanism is designed for child seat installation. However, if the locking feature activates in other situations, the child may not be able to free him or herself.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, accidents can occur if caregivers fail to properly restrain the child—for example, if you let the child lie down or sleep on the vehicle seat, instead of being properly restrained. Older children who are no longer in a child restraint system can also become entangled by pulling a seat belt all the way out of the retractor, or by playing with an unused seat belt.

Can Seat Belt Accidents Be Prevented?

As Florida personal injury attorneys, we want parents to know that there are steps that parents and caregivers can take to help ensure that children do not become entangled. Below are a few tips:

  • Do not let children play in or around cars.
  • Never leave a child unattended in or around a vehicle.
  • Always ensure children are properly restrained.
  • Teach children that seat belts are not toys.
  • Be aware that some seat belts have a retractor that locks if pulled all the way out.
  • If a child has an unused seat belt within reach, buckle unused seat belts. Pull the seat belt out all the way to the end without yanking. Then, feed the excess webbing back into the retractor.
  • If a child seat is installed with LATCH, consider completing the steps above before you install the child seat. Always consult your child seat and vehicle owner's manual for installation instructions.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If your child or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys for a free consultation.


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