Child Passenger Safety – An Important Topic

Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP July 31, 2014

Auto accidents are a leading cause of death and injury for children under the age of 14 in the United States. In 2011, there were 800 children under the age of 15 killed from motor vehicle accidents.1 The best way to increase safety for younger passengers is through the appropriate use of child safety seats. Use of proper child safety seats is important when driving with infants and children. Selecting the right car seat for young vehicle occupants does not have to be confusing. Injury lawyers who have helped children recover from auto accident-related injuries urge parents to become educated about safe car seat selection.

What Do Statistics Show?

According to the SafeKids.org2 website, the leading cause of injury and death to children living in the United States relates to road injuries. The use of child safety seats could reduce child fatalities by as much as 71%.2 Statistics clearly support the use of child safety seats to prevent fatalities and injuries to children. Use of these restraining devices requires the commitment of parents to help save the lives of their children.

Choosing the Right Child Safety Seats

Children have a greater change of surviving an auto accident when correctly restrained. There are different types of seats for infants and young children, including rear-facing seats with harnesses, front-facing seats, and booster seats. All of these must be correctly installed to provide protection. Unfortunately, 73% of most car seats are not installed correctly, putting children at increased risk according Child healthcare professionals, injury prevention specialists, and lawyers who deal with child injury cases agree that this statistic needs to improve.

It is important to use an appropriate booster seat when a child outgrows their regular car seats which allows seat belts to be properly fastened for good restraint. Children are 45% less likely to be injured when properly seated in a booster seat in rear seating in comparison to a child riding with only a seat belt. Seat belts can actually cause injury when used on a child not seated on a booster seat or cause that child to slip out of the seat belt.

Parent Education

The good news is that many organizations offer instruction for parents about the importance of using child car seats and how they should be correctly installed. Event organizers discuss proper child seat selection and teach parents how to install them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The Safe Kids organization offers many car seat inspection clinics in local areas.3

The Centers For Disease Control assisted in the development of the National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention (NAP) to increase awareness of child safety, help provide solutions for identified problems, and encourage participation by many concerned parties across the nation.4

Auto accidents will happen – and drivers can help ensure that children are protected, as much as possible, through child safety seat usage. Injury lawyers who represent those who have been injured in automobile accidents advise that the use of child safety seats offers protection from unexpected accidents.

1 NHTSA, FARS Data Tables, 20122, Car Seat Safety Tips3 – Car Seat Events4Centers for Disease Control: “Protect The Ones You Love: Child Injuries Are Preventable”