According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 600 children ages 12 and younger are fatally injured in automobile accidents throughout the United States each year. More than 63,000 are injured in car crashes. Tragically, almost half of children between the ages of 8 and 12 who die in car accidents are not wearing seatbelts.
Just as alarming is the large percentage of younger children who are in car seats and booster seats are not restrained properly. One major study found that number to be 46 percent are incorrectly restrained, 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/or lap belt position for booster seats
So how do parents keep children safe? A North Carolina 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 adults. 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, but this 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, then they should buckle up 100 percent of the time. Approximately 35 percent of the children who are killed in crashes each year were not wearing their seat belts. This rule should also go for adults.
Contact a North Carolina Accident Attorney
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 the negligence of another party, contact a North Carolina 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.