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Child Passenger Safety: Risk Factors and Injury Prevention

Even with all the advancements we’ve making in automotive safety technology, car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among our nation’s youth population. We know that technology has the potential to help make us a little safer on the road, it is important to remember that technology isn’t a solution in and of itself, and there are many actions we can take ourselves to play an even greater role in keeping our children safe. Our injury lawyers hope that the child passenger safety information that follows will help answer some of our readers questions, and help keep their families a little safer in the future.

How Serious is the Problem of Child Passenger Safety?-During the 2011 statistical year, the most recent period for which data has been made available, there were more than 650 children (12 years of age or younger) killed in traffic related accidents and nearly 150,000 additional children are seriously injured as passengers in automobiles every year. In one study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency found that in one year, between 600,000-700,000 children rode as passengers in vehicles without using child safety seats, booster seats, or seat belts at least some of the time. This fact is made all the more disconcerting when you consider that 1/3 of all child fatalities were not using safety devices either.

What Are the Biggest Risk Factors?-Of the children who died in car accidents across the United States, more minorities (45% of black children and 46% of Hispanic children) were not using safety restraints compared with white children (26%); older children (45% of 8-12 years of age) were also far more likely to not be restrained in safety devices. Parents are often the biggest risk factors in these accidents, as 2/3rd of fatally injured children were killed while being driven by an intoxicated driver, and many children who ride in vehicles without safety restraints have parents who themselves do not use seatbelts.

How Can Injuries to Children Be Prevented?-The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends car seat laws and car seat distribution, as well as education programs to increase restraint use. To put it simply, the more people we can educate, the more children we can keep safe. A recent study that was conducted using five states that increased the age requirements for car seat and booster seat usage found that the number of children being restrained increased three times, and the rate of children sustaining “fatal or incapacitating injuries” decreased by almost 20%. Using the correct car seat for your child’s size and weight, as well as taking the proper steps to install it, are both incredibly important aspects of child safety. Take the time to find out which seats best fit your children, and stay up to date on safety information regarding the devices you are using. (The Center for Disease Control & Prevention)

Our Chicago car accident lawyers are committed to reducing the number of preventable accidents and injuries that occur in our community. If you have been the victim of an accident because of a negligent or reckless driver, we are also committed to helping you and your family get the compensation they deserve. If you think you may have a case, call us anytime for a free consultation to explore your legal options.