Child Booster Seat Laws in Arizona
In one recent year, over 90,000 children under the age of 12 suffered an injury in car accidents. Over 1,000 children suffered fatal injuries in these crashes. Of the children who died, 38 percent did not have proper safety buckles. Car seat and child booster seat laws exist to protect young children. Their smaller bodies cannot withstand impact from a car crash. Accordingly, The law imposes obligations on drivers (not just parents) to use child restraint systems in their vehicles when driving children. If you have been in an accident reach out to a car accident lawyer to get your consultation today.
Arizona Child Restraint System Laws
In Arizona, children need to sit in some sort of child safety seat until they are at least 4 ft and 9 inches and reach the age of eight. The step before a booster seat is a forward-facing car seat. Children may move to forward-facing car seats when They exceed the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit for a rear-facing car seat.
Forward-facing car seats should have five-point harnesses. Again, children should remain in forward-facing car seats until they reach the manufacturer’s suggested weight limit. There is no specific law in Arizona that mandates the beginning age for the booster seat.
The forward-facing car seat will have manufacturer’s limits for the weight of a child who uses it.
When the child is:
- More than four years old
- Exceeds the height and weight limit of the forward-facing car seat
Booster Seats Follow Forward-Facing Car Seats
Some parents elect to keep their children in a forward-facing car seat past four years old. The next step after a forward-facing car seat is a child booster seat. Parents should use the booster seat with a shoulder harness seat belt. If there is not one already in your car, you should ask the dealer to install one. If possible, parents should have their child ride in the middle of the back seat because they cannot pitch forward into the seat in front of them in the event of a crash.
Booster seats have an apt name because they boost the child in the car. The lift helps make the seat belt more effective because it buckles the child across the strong bones of their chests. If the seat belt was around their neck or stomach, it might cause serious injury to a child when their body lurches forward in an accident.
The booster seat must must consist of more than a mere seatbelt. You can use a specially-designed booster seat or one that comes as a factory add-on to the car. The booster must safely seat small children and meet federal regulations. If you cannot afford a booster seat, numerous assistance programs can help defray the cost. Booster seats generally have a useful life of about six years, and you should replace them after you have been in an accident.
How Long Children Must Remain in Booster Seats
Children must remain in a booster seat until they reach:
- The height of four feet, nine inches
- Eight years old
Unlike other states, Arizona law does not require children to remain in a booster seat solely based on their weight. Even if a child exceeds the height, they must still remain in a booster seat until they reach the age of eight. In the past, the law allowed them to move out of a booster seat as young as five. In 2012, the Arizona legislature changed the law to raise the age to increase child car seat safety.
Exceptions to the Booster Seat Laws
Children do not need to sit in booster seats on school buses. Arizona law only requires booster seats in vehicles designed for ten or fewer people.
The other exceptions to the child restraint rules include:
- Someone who is transporting a child for emergency care
- Someone transporting multiple children in a passenger area that does not have enough restraints for the children
- Children transported in a commercial truck or recreational vehicle
Penalties for Failing to Follow Booster Seat Laws
When law enforcement stops a driver’s car, they will ask the driver about the age and weight of the child if they notice that they are not in a booster seat. Based on the driver’s response, they may issue a citation. Law enforcement is dependent on the driver giving the correct answer.
The penalty for being caught with a child not properly in a booster seat in Arizona is $50. Officials can waive the fine if the driver can demonstrate to law enforcement that they have acquired the proper child booster seat. Arizona maintains a fund that deposits all monies collected from fines issued to drivers who do not follow child booster seat laws. This fund helps purchase booster seats for indigent parents who cannot afford to buy them independently.
The fine is relatively minimal compared to the critical nature of having a proper child booster seat. As you will read, not following child booster seat laws can affect you elsewhere when seeking financial compensation.
Once children can move into a booster seat, they must still sit in the back seat of the car. Parents must still be careful and use their judgment when children reach the age when they outgrow a booster seat.
Although no Arizona law states what age children have to be to sit in the front seat, most car manufacturers recommend that children stay seat belted in the back until they reach the age of 13 years old.
Airbags can be particularly dangerous for small children because of the force with which they deploy. Parents should consider that when deciding the appropriate age to allow their child to sit in the front seat.
Booster Seats May Factor Into Child Car Accident Injury Lawsuits
Your family may still receive financial compensation even if your child was not in the proper car seat or you did not properly assemble it. Arizona has laws regarding negligence that are favorable to plaintiffs. Even if you were partly to blame for the accident, you might still receive financial compensation for that percentage of the injuries that were not your fault. Insurance companies and car seat manufacturers do what they can to try to avoid liability, including blaming what happened on you.
If your child did not have proper restraints, an insurance company might try to blame you for some of their injuries. However, the insurance company should never shift all of the blame onto you when someone else caused the accident itself. Your car accident lawyer will need to defend you and push back when the insurance company uses these tactics to limit your payment.
You Can Sue the Booster Seat Maker When the Device Was Defective
In some cases, your child’s injury may be the fault of the booster seat itself. Not every child safety restraint on the market works as intended. There are numerous cases where the booster seat fails when you need it the most. When that happens, you can file a product liability lawsuit against the company that made or sold the booster seat.
Your attorney will need to prove that the product was defective. There are three primary defective product categories:
- Design defects – The design of the product was unreasonably dangerous (this issue will affect many booster seats, as opposed to just one oh, and it is what leads to mass recalls)
- Manufacturing defects – There is nothing wrong with the design, but something went wrong during the manufacturing process, which made the individual booster seat unreasonably dangerous.
- Marketing defects – The manufacturer either did not give proper safety instructions or knew or should have known of defects and failed to warn the public about them.
Product liability lawsuits can be very technical cases and require an experienced attorney who has tried cases in these areas before.
Product Liability Lawsuits and Booster Seat Recalls
There have been numerous cases against companies that manufacture car booster seats in recent years. Companies like Dorel Juvenile Group and Evenflo faced allegations of selling inadequate child restraints or improperly marketing their products as side-impact tested. When companies learn that a booster seat is unsafe, they should promptly issue widespread safety recalls. Issuing a recall for an unsafe product does not help the company avoid liability for injuries that already happened – or injuries that happen when parents are unaware of the recall.
Car seat manufacturers are not the only corporations facing lawsuits or recall pressure. Recently, 75,000 Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks were subject to recall because the child safety seat anchors can fail in a crash. If a child seat fails, it might be one of many companies that have or share responsibility.
Always have a highly experienced car accident lawyer review what happened and determine who should provide compensation if your child suffered injuries due to a failing safety seat or restraint.
Lawsuits for Child Car Accident Injuries
Children will suffer more serious injuries in car accidents because their bodies are smaller. They are more likely to suffer long-term injuries because their brains and bodies are less developed. Families need to file lawsuits to get compensation on behalf of the injured child.
To recover financial compensation for your child’s injuries, you must show that someone else was at fault for the accident. Winning a car accident case depends on proving negligence. Without it, you cannot win.
There are four elements of the test that you will need to meet to prove negligence.
- Someone else owed your child the duty of care to act reasonably under the circumstances.
- The defendant breached that duty by doing something that a reasonable driver should not have done or by failing to do something they should have done.
- Your child suffered an injury.
- Your child only suffered injuries due to the actions of the other party.
Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney
If your child has suffered an injury in a car accident, you need to contact an experienced attorney to help with your case. An attorney can immediately investigate the accident and gather the evidence that you need to show that somebody else was negligent. Without a lawyer, you might not prove that somebody else caused the crash.
If you try to handle a car accident case on your own, you may end up empty-handed. Your child may need this money to care for their injuries in the future. If your child suffered serious injuries, they might need medical care for years and incur many other costs.
Child Car Accident Damages that Your Family Can Receive
Like any car accident case, the injuries and damages can vary widely. Your child might have a broken arm or they might suffer a permanently disabling injury. You need a personal injury lawyer to examine your losses – past and future – and calculate the value of your child’s injury claim.
Here are some of the damages that you might recover on behalf of your child in a car accident case, depending on their injuries:
- The complete cost of your child’s medical care
- Lost wages if your child will be unable to work in the future or for the time that you had to take off from work to get them medical care
- Your child’s pain and suffering, both in the past and future
- Emotional distress and trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent disability or impairment
It does not matter whether a child or adult was involved in the accident; insurance companies will operate the same way. They often make low settlement offers or otherwise challenge the value of your losses to protect the business.
Your car accident lawyer will fight for your child’s legal rights, helping you secure enough money to care for them now and in the future. No matter how the accident happens, someone else should pay when they are at fault for your child’s injuries.
Of course, you should do everything within your power to keep your child safe when they are a passenger in a car, but you can receive financial compensation for the negligent actions of another. Contact us at G & K to receive your consultation today.