One of the worst things car accident attorneys must deal with in their work is when children are killed in car accidents. Sadly, motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of children between the ages of 3 and 14.1 Even more disturbing is the fact that car accident lawyers know many of these child fatalities could have been prevented if adults had understood the importance of properly restraining a child when riding in a vehicle.
Child Auto Accident Fatality Statistics
According to statistics, car accidents are the leading cause of death of children between 3 and 14 years of age.1 In 2014, more than 120,000 children 12 years and under were injured in motor vehicle accidents. In 2015, there were 663 child fatalities.2 Most of the injuries and fatalities were because the child was riding in a vehicle without appropriate car seats or not wearing seat belts.
One study even determined that as many as 618,000 children age 12 and under traveled in cars without a safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt.2 Car accident attorneys also point out that these numbers do not include children who are killed as pedestrians, bicyclists, or in other types of vehicle accidents.
Proper Safety Restraint Is Essential
Considering these staggering statistics, car accident lawyers agree with the many safety advocates who stress the need to use appropriate restraint and safety seating for all children who are passengers in vehicles:
- Child Seating and Restraint Is the Law - Texas law states that all children under 1 year must travel in a rear-facing infant seat. In addition, children from 1 to 4 years should ride in toddler seats with those under 2 years of age rear facing. Children aged 4 to 7 and less than 57 inches tall must be restrained with a booster seat and safety belt. In addition, children under 100 pounds or less than 57 inches tall must be properly restrained in the back seat since their body weight may not be enough to activate airbags in the event of a car accident.
- Proper Use of Child Seats Is Essential - In addition to using the proper child seat for the right ages, car accident attorneys stress the importance of using them the right way. Improper installation and use of car seats and booster seats are contributor factors in more than 80% of crashes where children have been injured or killed. Improper seat choice based on the child’s age and weight, improper installation of child seat in the car, and improper positioning of safety belts are the biggest factors. Car accident lawyers also find that positioning car seats in the wrong direction contribute to injuries to very young children.
Car accident attorneys find the most important message in all of this should be obvious. Reducing child injuries and fatalities in car accidents depends greatly on adults using the right child seats and taking the time to learn how to install them correctly.
Even when properly selected, car accident lawyers stress that child car seats do little good if they are not correctly positioned and installed in a vehicle. Adults can make traveling in cars much safer for all children if they know how to select and use child car seats according to the age, weight, and height of each child!
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1Safe Ride 4 Kids, The Car Seat Safety Stats: Car Crashes Are the #1 Killer of Children, 2014
2Centers For Disease Control And Prevention: Motor Vehicle Safety - Child Passenger Safety: Get The Facts, April 2017