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Child Car Seat Laws

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Minnesota Child Car Seat Laws

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), car seats reduce a child’s risk of injury by up to 82%. Boosters reduce the risk of injury in a car accident to older children by up to 45%.

Regardless of these statistics, Minnesota’s child car seat laws require that all young children ride in approved restraints.

If your child was injured in a car crash in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a lawyer from Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys can advise how using child restraints might affect your child’s injury claim. Contact our law office in Minneapolis at (800) 292-1979 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Minneapolis car accident attorney.

How Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help After a Car Accident in Minneapolis, MN

Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys has represented accident victims in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 1979. Our attorneys have over 80 years of combined legal experience representing injured clients against the at-fault parties and insurers liable for their losses.

If you or your child are injured in a crash, our Minneapolis car accident lawyers can help by providing the following:

    • A free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer to evaluate your case

    • A team with a record of successfully recovering over $90 million in injury compensation

    • The dedication to the principle of standing up for injured people in need of help

A car accident can cause severe injuries to your and your children. Contact Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys to discuss your child’s injuries and how we can fight for their rights.

How Many Children Get Injured in Minnesota Car Crashes?

According to the Minnesota Crash Facts report for 2021, 488 fatalities and 24,083 injuries occurred in the state due to automobile accidents. The report contains a breakdown of accident victims by age. This includes two age groups, 0-3 years and 4-7 years, that overlap with the children covered by Minnesota’s car seat laws.

In 2021, five children were killed, and 539 children suffered injuries in car accidents. 

Of those who were injured:

    • 15 children suffered incapacitating injuries

    • 148 children suffered minor, non-incapacitating injuries

    • 376 children suffered possible injuries

Note, however, that these numbers only cover those riding in vehicles. They do not include children killed or injured in pedestrian or bicycle accidents

Unfortunately, the state did not release statistics about the number of children who did not suffer any injuries, which means the report does not provide enough information to calculate the effectiveness of child restraint systems.

Requirements of Minnesota Car Seat Laws

Across the U.S., car seat laws fall into one of two broad categories. 

Some states provide very specific car seat requirements. Illinois, for instance, specifies when a child must ride in a rear-facing car seat, when they can graduate to a front-facing car seat, and when they may switch from car seats to boosters.

Other states, like Minnesota, provide very general requirements that do not specify which car seats to use. In fact, Minnesota’s car seat law has only one operative sentence. It requires that every driver transporting a child under eight years old and under four feet, nine inches tall properly fasten the child in an approved child restraint system.

The law does not apply to the following vehicles:

    • Taxis

    • Buses

    • Limousines

    • Semi-trucks

    • Motorcycles

The law also exempts children with a doctor’s note by stating the child has a health condition preventing them from using a car seat.

Best Practices For Car Seat Use

The American Academy of Pediatrics outlines the best practices for using child car seats. Parents in Minnesota do not necessarily need to follow these guidelines under the state’s laws, but doing so can protect children from being ejected during a car accident.

Newborns should ride in rear-facing car seats until they outgrow the seat. They place the child in a reclined position with their head toward the front of the car and their feet pointed toward the vehicle’s rear. In that position, the seat supports the child’s head and neck, reducing the risk of whiplash.

After outgrowing the rear-facing car seat, the child should move into a front-facing one. These seats have integral backrests, headrests, and a five-point harness that reduces the odds of ejection during a collision. Like rear-facing seats, children should remain in these seats until they outgrow them.

From there, children should ride in booster seats, which position the child so that their seat belt crosses their shoulder and chest rather than their neck. Children should use the booster until they have grown taller than four feet, nine inches and older than eight.

Liability For Not Using a Child Restraint System in Minnesota

Under normal circumstances, an accident victim’s compensation is reduced by their share of the blame for their injuries. Thus, if an accident victim was 10% responsible for their crash, they could only get 90% of their damages.

Minnesota’s car seat law blocks courts from applying this rule to car seat use. That means your child will be entitled to 100% of their losses even if you failed to properly restrain them.

Schedule a Free Consultation With A Minneapolis Car Wreck Lawyer If You or Your Child Were Injured in a Crash

A child can suffer severe injuries when not restrained in a car seat or booster. Visit our Minneapolis office or call Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys at (800) 292-1979 for a free consultation to discuss your child’s car accident injuries and the compensation you can seek.

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