Over the past decade, we have made great strides in the field of automotive safety technology, however, car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for children and adolescents. Last year, there were more than 650 children (12 years of age or younger) killed in traffic related accidents. 31 additional children died as a result of heatstroke from being left in a sweltering car. 150,000 other children are seriously injured as passengers in automobiles every year. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
What Are the Biggest Risk Factors?-When looking at the data from all child car accident injuries and fatalities, 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. Alcohol consumption on the part of parents or guardians is 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 policies that enact and enforce car seat laws and facilitate car seat distribution. Educational programs to increase restraint use have also been shown to play a significant role in injury prevention. 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%. (Center for Disease Control & Prevention)
To put it simply, the more people we can educate, the more children we can keep safe. 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.
Our lawyers are committed to reducing the number of preventable car accidents and injuries that occur in our community, but 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.