Something bad happening to your child is the worst fear of every parent. Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries to children in the U.S. Hourly, 150 children up to age 19 are treated in emergency departments for traffic accident-related injuries. Unfortunately, more children ages 5 through 19 die from injuries related to motor accidents as compared to other causes. There are several causes of automobile related injuries in children and youth including passenger safety, heatstroke, “frontovers” and “backovers”, as well as teen driving. Knowing how to manage safety risks is an empowering step to make sure your child stays safe around and in cars.
Tips to Keep Children Safe on the Road
Consider these tips to help keep your children safe in the car:
- Control speed. Driving in excess of the speed limit is the cause of one-third of all fatal auto accidents in high-income countries. Drivers should be more conscious of speed limits, and communities should emphasize enforcement of speed limit violations.
- Don’t drink and drive. These actions place everyone at risk for dangerous or fatal collisions, including children.
- Utilize the correct restraint device for young children. This is one of the most effective measures a parent can take to ensure a child’s safety on the road. Make sure that the measures you take are appropriate for the child’s age, height, and weight. A guide can be found here.
- Improve your child’s ability to see and be seen by oncoming traffic. This will help to reduce severe injuries by pedestrian or biking children getting hit by cars. Also, if your child is going to bike, ensure that he or sure wears a helmet.
- Ensure that your young children are supervised in the proximity of roads. Younger children have an extremely limited capacity to understand and evaluate risk. Parents and caregivers can help children understand their surroundings and ensure their safety. For example, teaching children to always buckle up when in the car or to always look both ways when crossing the street can help keep children safe.
Passenger Safety for Children
It is important to use proper equipment such as booster seats, car seats, and seatbelts.
- Children from birth to 2 years of age should ride in a rear-facing car seat. The car seat should be placed in the back seat. Check the weight and height limits in the owner’s manual to ensure proper usage.
- When kids outgrow the rear-facing car seat, they should ride in a front-facing car seat in the back seat. In general, this guideline applies to children ages 2 through 5. Again, check the weight and height limits in the owner’s manual.
- When the child is too big for the front facing car seat, a booster seat should be used until they grow big enough to use a seat belt.
- Always use a seat belt. Seat belts fit safely when the lap belt lays across the thighs and the chest belt rests against the chest. If the upper belt rests on the neck and the lower belt rests on the stomach, it is unsafe to use.
- It is safest for children under age 12 to ride in the backseat as airbags can cause fatal injury to children. The middle seat is the safest. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat if there are airbags.
Heatstroke is the leading cause of child vehicle-related deaths excluding crashes. Never leave children in your car unattended. Keep the car locked so children do not get in by themselves. Call 911 if you see a child alone in a car.
Backovers and Frontovers
People who hit children with a car are usually friends or family members. Teach children to watch out for cars and to pay attention to cars running in a parking lot or driveway. Hold children’s hands when crossing streets and walking in parking lots or in front of driveways. Check around your car before moving to make sure there are no children or items near the car that could attract kids such as toys.
Tragic accidents among teenagers and preteens are far too common. The chances of dying in a car driven by a teenager double at age 13. Talk to your children about car safety early, before they begin driving. Set limits with teen drivers around what they are allowed to do. Limit the number of passengers, night driving, and talk about the dangers of driving under the influence.
Has Your Child Been Injured?
If your child was injured in an automobile accident, you may be able to recover damages from the party at fault. Nothing can compensate for seeing your child in pain or the death of a child, but filing a lawsuit can hold another party accountable for reckless behavior. An experienced auto injury attorney can help you proceed.
Contact Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC
The experienced Atlanta metro area attorneys at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC can help you in this trying time. They understand how to guide and support family members experiencing the aftermath of a tragic accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.