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FHP says 4-month-old Killed in Lake City Crash was improperly secured in Car Seat

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The Gainesville Automobile Collision Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. discuss a tragic car wreck that has left a Columbia County family in mourning over the loss of their infant son. The accident happened along U.S. 27 in Suwannee County, shortly after noon on Thursday, May 1, 2014. FHP reports that the driver of a 2007 Chevrolet Impala, 81-year-old Charles E. Giddens, of Forth White, was stopped on a shoulder of the westbound side of U.S. 27, in preparation to make a U-turn. Headed eastbound on U.S. 27 in a 2002 Kia Spectra, was 29-year-old Thomas B. Ingram, of Lake City, along with two passengers, including a 4-month old child, Conner Michael Ingram.

The crash occurred when Giddens turned into Ingram’s path as he attempted to make a U-turn, thereby resulting in a side-impact collision between the two vehicles. Ingram’s infant passenger was transported to Lake City Medical Center, where sadly the child later died from his injuries. Neither Ingram nor his other passenger reported any injuries, however, Giddens sustained minor injuries. Authorities are still investigating the incident, but say that the infant was not properly buckled into his child safety seat at the time the crash.

As Accident attorneys, we have seen the devastation that can occur in collisions involving children that are improperly or unsecured in a restraint device. In some cases, the right type of car seat is being utilized, but in the wrong manner. In other cases, the car seat may not be suitable given the age or size of a particular child. We have even seen cases where children have suffered serious injury or fatality in an accident, as a result of a defective car seat.

In an April 24th blog post, Several Injured Following Gainesville Car Crash, we discussed how the proper use of safety seats to secure a driver’s 2-year-old and 11-month-old passengers, was a potential factor in reducing the extent of injuries suffered by the children following an accident. In recognition of the abundance of statistical data demonstrating the ways that car seats, when properly used, aide in the prevention of injury and fatality suffered by child accident victims, the Gainesville Injury lawyers of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. wish to expand on this important topic. Our hope is that discussion of the issue might assist in promoting safety and awareness amongst the residents of our community that travel in vehicles with small children aboard.

According to NHTSA  and Seatcheck.org, 7 out of 10 children in safety seats are not properly buckled in. As provided by these sources, the most common child safety seat installation mistakes include:

  • Not using the right child safety seats for a child’s size and age;
  • Not placing the child safety seat in the correct direction;
  • Incorrect installation of the child safety seat in relation to the vehicle’s air bags;
  • Incorrect installation and tightness of the child safety seat to the vehicle seat;
  • Not securing or tightening the child safety seat’s harness and crotch straps;
  • Improper use of locking clips for certain vehicle safety belts;
  • Not making sure the vehicle’s seat belts fit properly across the child when using a booster seat; and
  • Using a defective or broken child safety seat.

For many parents, the selection, installation, and use of child safety seats is just another example of how the process of parenting is a continuous learning process. And while children do not come with user guides, car seats do. However, as any person that has ever used a car seat knows, they are not as simple to use as one might think—even with the assistance of a user manual. Fortunately, there are a number of online resources that parents can access to ensure the safe transport of their child. In addition, NHSTA’s Safety Seat Inspection Locator  provides a list of locations where parents can have a car seat examined by a certified inspector, as well as obtain valuable information regarding its use and installation.

The Personal Injury Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. encourage parents to take advantage of any resources that may provide the enabling tools necessary to allow for them to safely utilize child safety restraint devices.

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