Did you know that car accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14 according to The National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration? Every day in the United States, about four children under age 14 are killed and 530 are injured in car accidents, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
As injury attorneys in Jacksonville, Florida, our firm sees far too many unnecessary injuries to children involved in car accidents. With this in mind, we need to take every precaution available when traveling with children on the roads.
With many families hitting the road for vacation travel this summer, it’s important to take safety seriously to prevent injuries. Of course, making sure everyone has their seat belt properly secured is a must. Where children are seated makes a safety difference, too. Do not allow small children to sit in the front seat with an activated airbag, as the force they exert when deployed can be extremely dangerous to young children.
Making sure children are in the correct seating restraint for their age is also critical. The NHTSA reports that the use of child restraints declines as children get older. From birth to one year, 99 percent of children ride in a restraint. That figure drops to 92 percent for children ages one to three, and drops further to 89 percent for children four to seven. For kids age eight to 12, only 85 percent ride in a restraint.
Here are some recommendations for the proper car seats for kids from the NHSTA:
• Children age 1 and younger should always travel in a rear-facing car seat that has been properly installed.
• For kids age 1 – 3, keep them rear-facing as long as possible. Until your child reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer, he or she should remain in a rear-facing car seat.
• Children age 4 – 7 should ride in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit specified by the manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, he or she may travel in a booster seat in the backseat of the car.
• It’s important to keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly, meaning the lap belt must lie tightly across the upper thighs, not the abdomen. The shoulder belt should lie across the shoulder and chest, and not across the face or neck.
• No matter their age, all children should ride in the backseat for increased safety.
For more life-saving tips, visit the National Highway Safety and Transportation Association at www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS.
Written by Elizabeth Allen
If you or your child has been injured in a car accident in the Jacksonville or surrounding areas, contact our Jacksonville accident attorneys for a free consultation.