Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. From 2013 to 2017, there were 3,313 children under 13 killed while riding in passenger vehicles. In 2017 alone, 675 children 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and nearly 116,000 were injured. Approximately 35% of those children killed in 2017 were not buckled in.
Properly using car seats and booster seats are the best way to keep children safe in vehicles. Car seats can reduce the risk of injury from a crash by 71 to 82 % compared to seat belt use alone. Among children under 5, an estimated 325 lives were saved in 2017 with the use of a car seat.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends keeping children rear facing as long as possible, up to the top height and weight limit allowed by their particular seat.
Once they have outgrown their rear facing car seat, a child may be ready for a front facing car seat with a five point harness and a tether. They should stay in this seat until they reach the height or upper weight limit and at least until the age of five.
After they outgrow the five point harness seat, it may be time for a booster seat. They should use a booster until a regular car seat lap belt lays properly across their lap and the shoulder belt is across their chest instead of their neck. Generally, children need to be 4 feet and 9 inches and 9-12 years old for the seat belt to fit properly.
Parents and caregivers need to set a good example and buckle up for each car trip. Almost 40% of children riding with unbelted drivers were also unrestrained.
The back seat is the safest spot in the car for kids. Children should always sit in the back seat until the age of 12. Children should never be in front of an airbag. Whenever possible place car seats in the middle of the back seat because it is the safest spot in the car.
From 2001 to 2010, about 1 in 5 child deaths resulting from an automobile collision in the US involved alcohol impaired driving with a BAC greater than .08. 65% of the time it was the child’s own driver that had been drinking. Most child passengers (61%) of drunk drivers were not buckled up in the fatal crash.
Register your car seat so that you are notified of a safety recall.
In the event of a collision with injuries, an experienced car accident lawyer in Phoenix, AZ may be able to investigate fault, insurance coverages that are applicable, and advise family members regarding damages claims and the litigation process.
Thanks to the Law Office of Paul Englander, PLC for their insight into personal injury claims and buckling up to keep kids safe in the car.