In 2019, about 183,000 children were injured in traffic accidents, and hundreds of these injuries were fatal, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented. Parents can help keep their children safe in the car by doing the following:
Over the years, laws requiring car seats have helped reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries among children involved in car accidents. However, incorrect use of car seats and restraints can decrease the effectiveness of these important safety devices. Other risk factors also contribute to the number of children hurt by automobiles, including negligent drivers and carelessness on the part of those responsible for ensuring the safety of children.
The use of car seats has helped keep children much safer in the event of a car crash. However, parents also need to know these facts about car safety:
The most common risk factors for car accident injuries among children include the following:
According to a study published by the Journal of Pediatrics, proper use of car seats can reduce the rate of infant injuries and deaths in an accident by 71 percent. Despite this fact, a number of parents do not use car seats at all, especially on short trips or when children are over 2 years old. Studies also indicate that nearly 80 percent of parents do not install or use car seats properly. When this happens, children can be thrown from vehicles through open windows or car doors upon impact.
Adults who drive while impaired pose a major risk for child passengers. More than one in five children who die in car accidents were involved in alcohol-related collisions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in more than half of those collisions, it was the child’s own driver who had been drinking.
All states in the U.S. require children riding in vehicles to use approved car seats, booster seats, or seat belts that are appropriate for the child’s size and age.
In Pennsylvania, the laws regarding car seats and restraints include:
Pennsylvania also recommends that parents consult the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website for help finding the right car seat.
Choose a car seat by looking for one that fits your child’s age and size. It is also important to choose a car seat that you can properly install and secure in your automobile. This may be easier than it sounds, so it is important to test out the car seat before you buy it, or make sure you can return it for a refund if it does not install easily.
Take time to read all of the car seat instructions before installing. Many times, children have been injured in car accidents simply because their parents failed to read the manual before installing the car seat.
CDC guidelines for choosing car seats are more stringent than Pennsylvania laws. These guidelines include the following:
Children under 12 years old should always ride in the back seat. The middle back seat is the safest spot in the car. Parents should always wear a seat belt and buckle the children in safely, even for short trips.
If your child is involved a car accident, seek medical attention for your child right away, even if your child is not showing any symptoms. Car accidents often result in head injuries that are not immediately apparent, especially in children. It is important to get a medical diagnosis early on, and follow up with your child’s doctor if they develop signs of swelling, sleep disturbances, or mood changes. Children may not be able to communicate their symptoms, and it is important to get them to a pediatrician as soon as possible to document any medical problems that may develop.
If your child is injured in a car crash, contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Our lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP have obtained significant settlements for their clients over the years, including the following:
When we take on a car accident case, we do it with integrity, skill, and compassion.
For more than 75 years, we have helped people injured through no fault of their own. If your child has been injured in a car accident caused by someone else, contact our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Contact us online or call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) for a free consultation. We have offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, and we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.