One of the leading risks for children four years old and over is getting hurt in an auto accident. Unfortunately, over 5,000 children die each year in the U.S. in car crashes, and thousands more are injured or hospitalized.
Although not a perfect solution, using child car seats properly can significantly reduce the risk of harm to children riding in cars. It is no surprise that states have made car seats mandatory by law.
What are Nevada’s Car Seat Laws?
In Nevada, all children under six years old and less than 60 pounds must be secured in a car seat or booster seat while traveling in a car. It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure that the car seat is the appropriate size for the child and used properly. The car seat also must meet federal requirements and be approved by the Department of Transportation.
Front-Facing versus Rear-Facing Car Seats
Other than the requirement that the car seat must fit the child appropriately, the Nevada law does not specify whether the car seat must be front- or rear-facing. However, it is strongly recommended that a rear-facing car seat is used until the child is 12 months old at a bare minimum.
This is in part due to the fact that babies’ heads are large relative to their bodies, and their spines are still in early development. A car crash while a baby is facing forward creates a severe risk of stretching the spinal cord, causing serious injury. A rear-facing car seat greatly reduces this risk.
For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a rear-facing car seat until the age of two and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration suggests using a rear-facing seat through age three.
What are the Penalties for Violating Nevada’s Car Seat Laws?
The penalty for failing to properly secure your child in a car seat is a fine of up to $500 and up to 50 hours of community service for the first offense. For repeat violations the fine can go up to $1,000, and up to 100 hours of community service may be required. If you violate the car seat law three or more times, your license can be suspended.
In Nevada, failing to abide by the car seat law is not a moving violation, and therefore will not result in demerit points.
My Child was Injured in an Accident – How Do the Car Seat Laws Affect Us?
If your child was injured in a car accident, you may be able to sue the responsible party on your child’s behalf. Although the extent of your child’s injuries may be worsened if they were not properly secured in a car seat, this should not affect your ability to receive compensation for your child’s injuries.
Nevada does not penalize children who were injured because they were not placed in a car seat. In fact, the state’s car seat law states that a violation cannot be considered evidence of negligence or reckless driving. This means the failure to properly utilize a car seat cannot be held against you or reduce the amount of money you obtain on your child’s behalf in a lawsuit.
If you are successful in suing on behalf of your child, you can be reimbursed for all medical costs related to the accident as well as compensation for anticipated future treatment.
Cap and Kudler – Nevada Car Accident Attorneys
Cap and Kudler’s experienced legal team has represented hundreds of clients injured in car accidents, including children. We understand your number one priority after an accident involving your child is to take care of their health and wellbeing. That is why we take on the insurance companies and defense lawyers–so you can focus on what matters.
If your child was hurt in a car accident, call us at (702) 878-8778 or contact us online for a consultation.