The Best Way to Prevent Serious Injuries to Children in a Car Accident? Use a Seatbelt
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number one killer of children and teens ages zero through 19 is “unintentional injury.” The CDC further reports that the leading cause of child injury is motor vehicle crashes, which kill an average of 11 children a week in the U.S.
A new analysis conducted by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s hospital provides data indicating that a large percentage of child car accident deaths are preventable. To be sure, of the deaths referenced in the analysis, 43 percent of children were improperly restrained, or were unrestrained entirely. A write up of the analysis can be found in The New York Times.
Preventing Childhood Deaths by Buckling Up
The study revealed that not only were nearly 50 percent of child car accident victims who suffered fatal injuries at the time of crash unrestrained, but also that 15 percent of the children who were killed were sitting improperly in the front seat (the study did not reveal the specifics of why this was improper, although it likely refers to children’s size). Sadly, about 13 percent of children who suffered fatal injuries were victims of the alcohol-impaired drivers.
The researchers also found that whether or not children were likely to be buckled at the time of a crash depended on the state. For example, in Mississippi, more than 56 percent of those children who died in auto accidents were not wearing seatbelts at the time of crash. In New Hampshire, 100 percent of children who died in car accidents were properly seatbelted at the time of collision.
What You Can Do as a Parent to Protect Your Child
As a parent, one of the best things that you can do to reduce your child’s risk of severe or fatal injuries in the event of an auto accident is to make sure they are properly restrained. This does not just mean using a seatbelt; depending upon your child’s height and weight, you may need to use an infant seat, a rear or forward-facing car seat, or a booster seat. Your child should not be protected by a seatbelt alone until they are big enough for the seatbelt to lie across the thighs, shoulder, and chest.
Your child should always be buckled up when they are in the car. There are no exceptions to this. The data above indicates that for children, wearing a seatbelt may be a life-saving action.
Reduce Your Risk of Car Accident and Injury
While seatbelts can save lives, the best thing is to avoid a car accident entirely by always exercising safe driving techniques. Whether you have children in the car or not, be mindful of your speed, don’t drive aggressively, and never operate a vehicle while fatigued, impaired, or distracted.
At the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our Philadelphia car accident attorneys are committed to helping those injured in a car accident, and their families, recover compensation for their losses. To schedule a free consultation, contact our lawyers today.