Keeping Kids Safe in Virginia Beach Car Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 1,000 children ages 14 and younger are killed in car accidents throughout the United States each year, and another 160,000 suffer serious injuries. Tragically, almost half of children between the ages of 8 and 14 who die in car accidents are not wearing seatbelts.

Just as alarming is the large percentage of younger children in car seats and booster seats that are not restrained properly. One major study found that 46 percent of children are incorrectly restrained in vehicles, while several smaller studies found the percentage to be as high as 85 percent. Some of the more common issues include:

  • Loose installation of the seat
  • Loose harness incorrect recline angle for rear-facing car seats
  • Placing harness behind the child’s arms, legs, or back in forward-facing car seats
  • Improper shoulder belt and lap belt position for booster seats

So, how do parents keep children safe? A Virginia Beach car accident attorney offers the following tips.

Always Use Child Safety Seats for Younger Children

It has been determined by safety advocates that children who are under 57 inches and weigh under 100 pounds are not adequately restrained by standard safety belts designed for adult use. While many parents are tempted to put children directly from their car seat right to adult seat belts, it is highly recommended that parents use booster seats for children, especially if the shoulder seat belt strap lies across a child’s neck rather than their shoulders. Using the correct restraints could – and does – save children’s lives in car accidents.

Children Should Sit in the Back Seat

Many parents make the mistake of allowing children to sit in the front seat, which is extremely dangerous. An airbag inflates at a speed of up to 200 miles per hour. A child sitting in the front could sustain head or neck injuries because of where the bag would strike if it inflates. This can result in brain or spinal injuries and can even be fatal.

Older Children Should Always Wear Their Seatbelts

When a child is too big for a booster seat and can safely wear a seat belt, they should buckle up 100 percent of the time. Approximately 35 percent of the children who are killed in car accidents each year were not wearing their seat belts. This rule should also go for adults.

Call Our Personal Injury Law Firm for Legal Help

Unfortunately, no matter how much we protect our children, there is always the risk that they will still be injured in a crash caused by another driver. If your child has suffered an injury in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, contact a Virginia Beach car accident attorney to discuss what legal options you may have and how best to proceed with your case.

Car accident claims involving child victims can be complex, including the statute of limitations for filing a claim and other factors. Your child may be entitled to financial compensation for both past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, scarring, disfigurement, and any permanent disabilities their injuries may have left them with. Contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free case evaluation and find out how we can help.

Our offices are located in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Hampton, Suffolk, and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.