Cok Kinzler PLLP

Keeping kids safe in car accidents

Anytime a car accident results in a person's death, it is a terrible tragedy. However, when the victim is a child, it can be especially painful. The thought that a young person who should have had a whole life in front of him or her no longer does can be too much for some families to come to terms with.

The Centers for Disease Control says that one of the primary causes of death for children is a fatal car accident. The good news is that proper safety measures can prevent deaths like this. If you have children, you may be interested in just what research has to say about children and car accidents as well as how to stop a tragedy before it happens.

Car seats and seat belts matter

Most parents know that car seats and seat belts are effective and important ways to keep children safe. What they may not know is just how much those safety measures help. Using a car seat in accordance with manufacturer's guidelines reduces the risk of death for infants by 71%. For toddlers, the risk drops by 54%. Even using a booster seat stops serious injuries in children 4-8 years old by 45%. A seat belt, used in accordance with the law, cuts the risk of death in older children by half.

Using a car seat improperly can have horrific consequences for a child in a car accident. One study looked at 3,500 car and booster seats to determine their effectiveness at protecting children in a crash. It found that 72% of those restraints were improperly used. Not just that, but the manner they were being used could actually increase a child's chance of being hurt.

How to prevent injuries to children

Fortunately, the CDC has several suggestions to reduce the likelihood of injury to a child in a crash. The easiest way is to ensure that you use the proper safety restraint for your child, based on his or her height, weight and age. While it may be tempting on quick trips, you must safely restrain your child in the car every time you drive anywhere. Also, you should be sure to use your own seat belt when you drive so that children observe you practicing safe driving habits.

Here in Montana, children under 8 years old weighing less than 60 pounds must use a car or booster seat. Each seat has its own set of guidelines set by the manufacturer, so be sure that you use yours accordingly. Children should always sit in the backseat of a car and never in front of an airbag. Once a child can sit in the standard seat of the car with the seat belt properly fit to him or her, then he or she no longer needs a booster seat.

Keeping kids safe

Even with the best efforts of a parent, car accidents still happen and children can get seriously hurt. This could result in significant emotional and financial distress for your family, not to mention how your child's life could change due to injuries from the accident. If your child suffers injuries or dies in a crash due to someone else's carelessness, you have every right to seek justice.

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