For most people in their late teen and early adult years, taking their first car out on a road trip brought with it a feeling of freedom that not many things can match up to. After hitting adulthood and having children, however, traveling takes on a whole new meaning. During these trips, parents are often more focused on keeping their children happy, but even in this quest, it’s essential to not forget about the child’s safety while in the vehicle. There are a variety of dangers that children can face while in the car with their parents, but luckily, a few proactive steps can easily mitigate these risks.
Accident Statistics Involving Children
The chances of a parent and their child being involved in an accident increases with the amount of time spent on the road, so when traveling on even short vacations or road trips, a child faces an increased danger not usually experienced by those who are simply riding along on errand runs. This is important to note once a parent realizes that, in 2011 alone, over 650 children under the age of 12 died in auto accidents; and even more alarming is the fact that 148,000 children in this age range were injured in accidents.
It’s an unfortunate truth that these incidents are often linked to parents’ neglectfulness. A study actually found that around 40 percent of children riding with parents who didn’t use seat belts were also not seated in proper child safety seats. Unfortunately, children are also sometimes put at risk when their parents think they’re doing everything right.
Safety Seat Importance
The importance of child safety seats cannot be overstated. The use of car seats lessens the risk of an infant dying in an accident by 71 percent. For toddlers, this number is 54 percent. Even the use of booster seats, as opposed to regular seat belts alone, reduces a young child’s chances of experiencing a serious injury by a full 45 percent.
Sadly, the use of these seats doesn’t guarantee safety. This because around 72 percent of all child safety seats aren’t properly installed. A recent tragic example shows just how important proper safety seat installation is. An accident in Missouri ended in the deaths of all passengers except an infant who was seated in a properly installed safety seat. The proper installation of this seat is likely what saved the child’s life.
In the disheartening example listed above, the surviving family members will likely be able to recover financial compensation due to wrongful death, and their chances of doing this increases if they have an experienced car wreck attorney. As Cofman Townsley, car wreck attorneys in Independence MO, state “A car accident can happen so fast, there is no time to think. It can leave you traumatized and devastated over personal loss.”
Thankfully, this will not be due to any serious harm to the young infant, and for those who are worried that their child’s safety seat may not be properly installed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a search engine for car seat inspection centers around the country.
Other Tips on Keeping Children Safe
There are also other safety steps besides proper safety seat installation that can keep children safe on the road. One safety tip, still related to car seats, is to replace a seat that’s been involved in a moderate to serious accident. They begin to lose their effectiveness after this. Additionally, it’s smart to place one’s purse or other vital belonging in the back seat’s floorboard. This will ensure that, after a long journey that may have been mind numbing, a parent will not mistakenly forget their child in the back seat.
Another safety tip, though it may cost a few extra dollars, is to invest in a portable DVD player. This will keep children preoccupied, and since this will reduce the likelihood of them misbehaving and demanding a parent’s attention, it will also reduce the chances of an accident occurring due to distraction.
The numbers related to childhood injuries and deaths on America’s streets are undoubtedly disheartening, but these statistics also tell the story of children who could’ve survived had a few protective measures been taken. Sadly, with negligent drivers on America’s highways, not even the safest of parents can ensure that their children won’t be involved in an accident. Fortunately, the appropriate safety measures followed up by the right legal help can ensure that a child remains safe while not breaking the parent’s bank.
As a mother to 4 Lisa Coleman understands the importance of proper car seat installation and safety, especially when an accident occurs. She recently viewed online how Cofman Townsley, car wreck attorneys in Independence MO, can legally help a client who has been a victim in a car accident due to negligent driving.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennycu/5586184417/