An alarming number of children are injured or killed because of automobiles. In fact, a total of 638 children under the age of 12 died in a motor vehicle accident in 2013, and another 127,250 were injured, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). KidsAndCars.org reported that another 184 children were killed in 2013 due to non-traffic incidents, including back-overs, front-overs, heat stroke, a vehicle accidently being set into motion, underage driving, power window accidents, and falls from vehicles.
Keeping Kids Safe While Driving
There are a number of contributing factors in the deaths and injuries of children in car crashes—intoxication of the driver, lack of proper vehicle restraint, and even the car itself. Keep your kids safe while on the road with these tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Choose the right car seat for you child. Weight, height, and age are all factors that must be considered. For more help in making the decision best for your child, visit the safecar.gov website.
- Install the car seat properly using the seat's safety information. If you have any trouble installing it, visit your local fire station or police department. They will help you install your car seat, free of charge.
- Never place a child under the age of 12 in the front seat of a vehicle. Their bodies are unable to sustain the impact of an airbag, and car seats can be jarred, creating an even bigger risk of death or injury.
- Use the car seat harness or seat belt correctly. Harnesses should lie flat, be snug and fully clipped, and must rest at armpit level. Seat belts should be positioned across the hips and between the clavicle and shoulder. If the belt does not position correctly for your child, they need a booster seat or car seat in order to obtain the correct position.
- Use proper restraints every time, and set the example by buckling up yourself. Statistics show that most children unrestrained were riding with unrestrained adults.
- Never drive under the influence, and never let your child ride with someone that is under the influence. According to the CDC, one in five child passengers killed in auto accidents were because of drunk drivers. More than half the time (65 percent), it was the child's own driver who was intoxicated.
- If possible, place children in the middle of the back seat. This is the safest location if an accident does happen.
Keeping Kids Safe from Non-Crash Accidents
Cars can kill or injure children, even when they are not on the road. Back- and front-overs, heatstroke, entrapment in the trunk, setting the car into motion when unattended, and underage driving are just a few of the possibilities. Keep your kids safe from non-traffic accidents with these tips:
- Never let children play around vehicles, even when the vehicle is off or parked. This will set a guideline that will help to keep children away from cars at all times;
- Always look to make sure children are not around or behind your vehicle before starting;
- Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, regardless of if it is on or off. To prevent accidentally leaving your child in the car, place your left shoe in the back seat. This will force you to remember to look in the back seat, even if you are in a hurry;
- Do not leave your keys in your vehicle or within reach of children;
- Teach your child about basic car safety regarding proper use seat belts, windows, and the dangers of climbing in or on vehicles;
- Engage child-safety window and door locks to prevent any accidental opening or closing of doors or windows on children;
- Register your car and your child's safety seat to ensure you receive notification of any safety recalls; and
- Use any additional safety features of your vehicle regularly.
When Accidents Do Happen
Even if you follow all of these tips, accidents can happen. Sometimes, it is due to the fault of another motorist. Other times, it is because of a defective car part or defective car seat for which recalls have not yet been issued. Whatever the case, it is important that you seek the help of a qualified attorney immediately.
At [[title]], we handle personal injury and wrongful death cases resulting from defective car parts, defective products, automobile accidents, and more. Our skilled Chicago motor vehicle accident attorneys protect the rights of our clients and fight to help them receive fair compensation for their injuries or the injuries of their children. To schedule a free consultation, call [[phone]] today.