Protecting Children From Car Accident Injuries
By leneahwillis // February 14, 2023
Every year, thousands of children are injured or killed in car accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 alone, over 1,000 children under the age of 13 were killed in motor vehicle crashes, and over 120,000 were injured.
As a parent or caregiver, your top priority is to take the necessary precautions and keep your child safe while they are in a vehicle.
In this article, we will explore the precautionary measures you can take to protect your child from car accident injuries according to the recommendations from experts.
1. Importance of Protecting Children in Cars
Did you know that children are more vulnerable to injury in car accidents compared to adults?
That’s because their bodies are still developing and their bones are more fragile. Not to mention, their cognitive and physical abilities are still not fully developed, which increases their risk of injury in a crash.
That’s why it’s crucial for you, as their parent or caregiver, to make sure you’re using the right child safety restraint for each stage of your child’s growth.
Keeping up with your child’s changing needs is the only way to make sure they’re always safe while in the car.
2. Precautions for Protecting Children in Cars
1. Always wear a seat belt
Once a child is big enough to use a seat belt, make sure they always wear one, even on short trips.
We know, it can be tempting to skip it for a quick errand, but it’s just not worth the risk!
Now, every state has its own laws when it comes to child seat belts, but the main goal is to keep your little ones properly secured in the car.
In most states, that means that your child needs to be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or reach a certain height and weight Also, the seat belt should fit snugly across the lap and the chest, and the shoulder belt should not cross the neck or face.
And listen up, failing to follow the laws for child car accident can result in some serious fines and even legal consequences if an accident were to happen. So, let’s keep our kids safe and follow the rules!
2. Use the right child restraint system
Here’s one scary statistic to start your day with: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 75% of car seats are not used or installed correctly.
That’s why it’s essential to make sure you’re choosing the right child restraint system for your little one.
With that in mind, child restraint systems come in two main forms: car seats and booster seats.
Car seats are designed for younger children and are intended to provide the necessary support and protection in case of a crash, while booster seats are for older children who have outgrown car seats but are still too small to use a seat belt alone.
So, how do you pick the right one for your child?
Well, for starters, you want to keep these three things in mind about your child:
- Their age,
- Height, and
Apart from that, it’s important to make sure your child rides in a rear-facing car seat until they’re at least 2 years old or until they reach the highest weight or height limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
After that, they should use a forward-facing car seat until they reach the highest weight or height limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
And don’t forget, you want to make sure the car seat is securely fastened to the vehicle using either the seat belt or the lower anchors of the LATCH system. The car seat should not move more than one inch from side to side or front to back.
3. Replacing Child Restraint Systems After an Accident
Unfortunately, even minor car accidents can result in damage to a child’s restraint system. In these instances, it is crucial to act quickly and replace the damaged restraint as soon as possible.
The NHTSA recommends that after any type of car crash, no matter how small the crash may seem, it is best to replace the child restraint system.
This is because damage to the restraint may not always be visible, and the system may not perform as intended in the event of a future crash.
Now, it’s not just about replacing the restraint after an accident. Regularly checking the condition of the child restraint system and making sure that it’s properly installed can also go a long way toward keeping your child safe.
So, don’t let a small car crash put your child’s safety at risk. Make sure to replace their restraint system right away and keep a close eye on it to ensure it’s always working properly.
Keeping your child safe is the top priority!
4. Avoid distractions while driving
Distracted driving is a major contributor to car accidents, and it’s easy to understand why.
When we take our attention off the road, even for a few seconds, the consequences can be devastating.
That’s why it’s crucial to avoid any activities that might distract you while you’re behind the wheel. This includes using your cell phone, eating, or engaging in any other activities that take your focus away from the road.
Instead, it’s best to stay focused and keep your eyes on the road at all times to ensure your safety, the safety of your child, and the safety of others on the road.
So, let’s make a commitment to distraction-free driving and keep our roads safe!
Driving is a privilege and comes with great responsibility, so it’s important to always keep safety at the forefront of your mind while behind the wheel.
One of the most crucial aspects of safe driving is following traffic laws and regulations and driving at a speed that is safe for the conditions.
Going too fast or engaging in aggressive behaviors like tailgating, speeding, or sudden lane changes not only puts you and others on the road in danger but also undermines the smooth flow of traffic.
By making smart decisions, being mindful of your driving habits, and focusing on the road ahead, you can play your part in promoting safety for everyone on the road.
As a parent or caregiver, it is your duty to ensure that your children are always protected and secure.
By using seat belts, the right child restraint system, regularly checking for damage, and avoiding distractions while driving, you can create a world where every child is protected from car accident injuries.
Don’t wait for tragedy to strike. Make the choice today to protect your children and prioritize their safety.