Preventing Child Injuries in Car Accidents by:Mark Dacanay
According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), there are about 250,000 child injuries due to car accidents. This translates to about 700 children getting hurt everyday because of road mishaps.
In another study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also found out that child pedestrians also account for 30% of the total deaths for people under the age of 15.
Clearly, children are more susceptible to injuries than adults. They are smaller and more fragile. They can easily be thrown around inside a vehicle during a collision. In addition, injuries to children can leave permanent damages that they may have to live with the rest of their lives.
Causes of Child Injuries in Car Accidents
Here are some of the most identified causes of child injuries in car accidents:
Improper installation and use of seat belts - Most car seatbelts are designed for average adults and does not fit properly to a small child. There are guidelines on how a child should be safely restrained inside a car.
Improper installation and use of safety seats - Incorrect placement of seatbelts over safety seats and booster seats, infant safety seats facing forward instead of facing the rear of the car, and improper routing of seatbelts over the safety seats are examples of improper use of the supposed safety equipment.
Children placed very close to airbags - Placing a child on the driver's lap places a child in danger not only from being pinned by the car's parts but also being hit by the full force of the airbag which could be very fatal.
Placing children on pick-up's cargo area - Placing a car on cargo areas of pick-ups increases the chances that they will be thrown over by the car during collision.
Preventing Child Injuries in Car Accidents
There is a number of safety equipment to safely transport a child in a car or other motor vehicles. However, it will depend on the age and size of the child on what safety equipment should be used.
Here are some guidelines about the type of protection you may need for your child:
A federally-approved infant safety seat should be used for children below 1 year old. The safety seat should face the rear so that the head is protected in case of collision. The seat should also be semi-reclined to prevent the head from flopping forward.
A child aged 1-4 can sit in a convertible seat that faces the front if the car has harness straps that can secure the child in place.
When the child becomes too big for the convertible seat, he/she can be placed in a booster seat instead. The booster seat will help make the seatbelt fit better in securing the child.
If the child outgrows the booster seat as well, the regular seatbelt should be able to fit him/her better. However, as a precaution, place the child on the back seat until he/she is 12.
With regards to safety seats, make sure that you read the manual to avoid improper use and installation.
Caution goes a long way in preventing child injuries due to car accidents.
About the author
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