The Value of Child Safety Restraints in Car Safety
Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers Remind of the Value of Child Safety Restraints
Motor vehicle accidents reported to police claimed the lives of 21,132 people in a recent one-year period. Tragically, fifteen (15) percent of the passengers who died in auto accidents were children, youths, or young adults according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The toll that motor vehicle accidents take on children is reflected in the fact that these accidents rank third regarding years of life lost (behind only heart disease and cancer). Vehicular accidents also rank as the leading cause of death for children age four and the second leading cause of death of children age three and every age from five through age fourteen.
The severity and scope of child passenger collision injuries are reflected by the following data about the 2,046,000 people injured in auto accidents during this same one-year period:
- 36,000 youths age 13 to 15
- 49,000 youths 8 to 12
- 33,000 children 5 to 7
- 45,000 children under the age of 5
Although motor vehicle crashes cause many child passengers to experience serious injury or even life-threatening injuries, parents who secure their children in an appropriate child safety restraint can significantly reduce this risk. The NHTSA estimates that lap and shoulder belts decrease the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45 percent and the likelihood of moderate to critical injury by fifty percent. The risk of fatal injury is reduced by sixty percent, and the risk of moderate to critical injury 65 percent when passengers are properly secured in a light truck. Further, child safety restraints are even more effective at protecting children. The federal agency reports that child safety restraints are 71 percent effective for infants under a year of age and 54 percent effective for children age one to four years of age.
Despite widespread public education campaigns and significant penalties for not securing kids in child car seats, many children killed in auto accidents were not in age-appropriate child safety restraint systems. The NHTSA reports that of 278 child passenger fatalities among children under five who died in a recent one-year period, 31 percent were unrestrained. Among the 135 children ages five to seven who died in car accidents, 41 percent were not restrained. Forty-five percent of children eight to twelve who died in auto accidents during the same period were unrestrained.
Some parents are conscientious and attempt to securely fasten their children into safety restraints only to have a false sense of security. Many children are left vulnerable because they place their child in the wrong safety restraint system or move their child from a car seat to a booster seat or seat belt prematurely. Incompatibility between vehicle seating configuration and child safety restraints constitute another problem. Despite efforts to eliminate issues involving incompatibility between vehicle seats and child safety restraints, a recent study found that a significant problem still exists. The study conducted by a research engineer at Ohio State College of Medicine's Injury Biomechanics Research Center examined 59 child car seats and 61 vehicles to identify incompatibilities. More than one in three (36.3 percent) of car seats and child restraint bases did not make a proper fit. According to the researchers, 33.6 percent of forward-facing car seats also rested at an awkward angle because of the vehicle's headrests.
Many police stations, EMS stations, hospitals, and fire departments perform car seat checks so that parents can confirm that their car seat or booster seat forms a proper fit with their vehicle seating configuration. A visit to this website can provide the location to a car seat inspection station near you. If you have been injured in a collision in Atlanta, our experienced Georgia auto accident injury lawyers diligently pursue the fullest recovery for our clients under the law.
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Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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