Cars present many dangers to kids. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. Most of these incidents can be prevented. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the proper use of car seats for infants reduces the risk of death by 71 percent and by 54 percent for toddlers. The use of booster seats for children aged 4-8 reduces the risk of serious injury by 45 percent, as compared with the use of a seat belt alone. And the use of seat belts for older children reduces the risk of serious injury and death by 50 percent.
The type of seat your kid needs depends on several things, including your child’s age, height, weight and developmental needs. The CDC recommends:
- Using the correct car seat, booster seat or seat belt for your children
- Always have children sit in the back seat
- Never seat children in front of an airbag
- Use a rear-facing car seat for infants under the age of two
- Use a forward-facing car seat for children ages two to five
- Install and use the car and booster seats correctly
- Be a role model and always wear a seat belt
The Car Seat Finder is an easy-to-use tool that helps you find the right car seat for your child. Just visit www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/right-seat and fill out your child’s age, height and weight, and you’ll be provided car seat types that fit your child.
Non-traffic incidents are also responsible for injuring many children each year. These events often take place off public roadways and in driveways, parking lots and garages. The most common non-traffic incidents that injure children are back-over accidents and heat stroke.
All parents can identify with the inconvenience of loading, unloading and reloading a child into a vehicle. It can be exhausting. However, no child should ever be left alone in or around a vehicle even if it’s “just for a minute.” More than 900 children have died in hot cars in the U.S. since 1990. Thirty-eight kids die on average annually, which is one every nine days, according to kidsandcars.org. Research shows a car’s interior temperature can rise nearly 20 degrees in 10 minutes. A child can suffer permanent brain or organ damage or die within minutes of being left in a hot car.
“Leaving a child unattended is never a good idea. If you aren’t used to transporting children routinely, such as grandparents taking the kids for the weekend, place your cell phone or purse in the back seat with the child. Kids may fall asleep, and tragedy could occur because you aren’t used to checking the back seat,” Brad says. “Other bad things can occur when a child is left alone in a vehicle. They are subject to being abducted, and if they are older they might somehow put the car in neutral.”
Back-over incidents typically occur when a vehicle coming out of a driveway or parking space backs over an unattended child because the driver did not see them. Brad says, “Backing up is probably the most dangerous thing you do in a car. It’s so critical that you are aware of your surroundings before you put the car in reverse.” It’s good practice to roll your windows down, keep the radio off and back up slowly, especially when there are children nearby. This lets you clearly hear what’s going on around you, especially if someone were to scream for you to stop the car.
Most parents know to look for cars with excellent crash test scores but consider these other features that help avoid traffic accidents. Rearview cameras and front and rear park assist systems are safety features that could save a life. Parents should also look for power lock capabilities for windows and doors and for cars with a transmission shift interlock. That mechanism makes it impossible to put a car into gear without having a foot on the brake, something that’s difficult for small children.
Have You Been Injured In A Texas Accident?
If you’ve been injured you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Bedford, Texas office directly at 817.440.3888 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation. We help personal injury clients throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington as well as all areas of Texas.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.