The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller

What can be done to keep children safe in car accidents?

Car accidents are dangerous for the individuals involved. In many cases, people might think about the adults that are driving or riding in cars. However, adults are not the only individuals affected by car accidents. Young children can also suffer serious injuries in a car accident.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the United States. In 2013, more than 600 children 12-years-old and under died as a result of a car accident. In addition, 127,250 children were injured that year in car accidents. Of those who died in a car accident in 2013, 38 percent of the children were not properly buckled in.

According to the CDC, proper child safety restraint systems can be employed to help prevent unnecessary injuries and deaths. This means infants, toddlers, children and teens need to properly use car seats and seatbelts.

For example, data shows that the risk of death to infants in a car accident can be reduced by 71 percent if car seats are properly used. Additionally, toddlers can reduce their risk of death by 54 percent by being properly restrained. Seatbelt use among children and teens can reduce the risk of death or serious injuries by 50 percent.

Practically, this means that infants and toddlers age two-years-old and under need to be in a rear facing car seat. Children between the ages of two and five should be in a forward facing car seat. After the age of five, children should move into a booster seat until they are able to properly wear a seatbelt. Seatbelt use should then continue and children should sit in the backseat until age 12.

It is important for parents and caregivers to understand the role that child restraint systems play in preventing injuries and accidents. However, even with proper use of these systems, injuries and deaths can occur. When a child is injured in a car accident, people should know their legal rights. By consulting with an attorney, families can receive specific legal advice on how to move forward following a car accident.

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