New parents and long-time parents who comply with North Carolina car safety seat requirements might use car seats incorrectly. Installing a car seat might seem intuitive, but even one that appears to be well-positioned and secure could be wrong. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that as of 2011, approximately half of all car safety seats are improperly installed.
Last year our car accident attorneys shared news about a technology development in car seats that helps remind adults if they've forgotten a child in the vehicle. Now we're sharing a separate tech item that helps parents--and adults who supervise small children--install car seats correctly. In June 2016, the company 4moms will release a smart car safety seat that will install itself. The seat will operate via wireless connections with a paired smartphone. (As of January 2016, the device works with iPhones and limited Samsung smartphones.)
The self-installing car seat identifies the proper positioning for the specific vehicle it is placed in by scanning the VIN (with the paired smartphone) and identifying latches, leveling to the seat, and adjusting itself to fit safely. The system also readjust to specifically respond to the infant once the child is placed in the seat. The seat also has a digital display that will visually confirm whether or not the child is correctly positioned after the belt is clicked. Just like other car seats, this high-tech version can be removed from the vehicle and used as a hand-held child carrier, fits into a compatible stroller attachment, and has a small canopy like many carriers.
Out of North Carolina's 100 counties, 45 impose strict requirements on parents or the child's caregiver who is cited for improper car seat use. The Child Protective Seats Court Diversion Program launched in 2013 and requires cited individuals to receive safety technician sign-off on a corrected car seat and to receive education on proper car seat use.
Remember, anyone who operates a vehicle that has an infant or small child passenger that requires a car safety seat can always visit a local sheriffs' department for a complimentary car seat check. To find one near you, visit the North Carolina Sheriff's Association Directory.