Many Children Not Properly Restrained in Vehicles, Study Shows

Posted By The Carlson Law Firm || 12-Sep-2012

As the school year begins, and more children are being transported by their parents to school, sports and activities, parents should take note of the results of a recent study about child safety restraints. More precisely, the findings of the study should serve as a warning to parents to look out for their children’s safety.

Babies and other young children in particular were found to have a higher risk of injuries and deaths in auto accidents, mainly due to the use of the wrong child safety restraints for their ages, or being allowed to ride in the front seats of cars. Luckily this risk can be easily minimized with parents taking the proper steps to ensure their children are properly restrained when riding in motor vehicles.

Risks to Children

After analyzing 21,500 U.S. children less than 13-years-old riding in vehicles between 2007 and 2009, researchers found that many child safety rules are not being followed. Some poor practices researchers witnessed were young children sitting in front seats, not using boosters for children when required, and very few babies sitting rear-facing once they turned one year old. Study results showed that parents were only restraining three percent of children ages one to three in rear-facing seats, and only 10 percent of children ages 8-10 were properly strapped into car or booster seats.

Motor vehicle crashes cause 179,000 injuries to children in the U.S. each year and are the leading cause of death for children over three. When children riding in cars, trucks or vans are not secured with age-appropriate child safety restraints, they are at a higher risk of injury or ejection during car accidents. The same risks increase for older children who are seated in the front seats of vehicles where seat belts are too large to restrain them properly, and air bags may further injure them in the event of a crash.

Ensuring Child Safety

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued updated recommendations for child passenger safety in 2011. They suggest that parents keep children under two years old in rear-facing seats and use five-point harness car seats for toddlers until the children exceed maximum weight and height requirements. Children under the age of 13 should continue to ride in back seats and use booster seats until they reach a minimum age of eight or a height of 4 feet, 9 inches and the adult seat belts otherwise fit them appropriately.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of death is cut by 71 percent when the appropriate child safety restraints are used for infants and 54 percent for toddlers who are properly restrained. This should encourage all parents to revisit whether they are properly and safely restraining their children during transport. In addition, parents should remember that they are the best safety role models for their children, so parents should be sure to buckle up when driving.

When Children Are Injured in Auto Accidents

Sometimes children may be injured or killed in tragic motor vehicle accidents even when the proper child safety restraints are used. If another driver was negligent, or the car seat was defective in how it was designed or manufactured, you may be entitled to compensation for your child’s medical expenses and pain and suffering. A motor vehicle accident attorney can provide further advice and guidance about potential claims.

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