Child safety is always of paramount concern to parents. But the most dangerous place for a child isn't in the home, it's on the road.
According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, upwards of 250,000 children are hurt in auto accidents each year. Of those children injured, roughly 2,000 die, making car accidents the leading cause of death for children between the ages of two and 14, according to the NCSA.
For those that survive, many are critically injured and suffer from a variety of devastating injuries, from paralysis to brain injuries. There are two major causes of these injuries and deaths: drunk driving accidents and failure to properly retrain children.
According to the NCSA, roughly 20 percent of accidents that claim children as victims involve a drunk driver. Although parents may feel powerless to prevent drunk driving by others, they can significantly improve their child's safety by making sure children are properly restrained in a child safety seat or with a seat belt.
Child Restraints in Vehicles
More than 50 percent of the children that are killed in auto accidents die because they are not properly restrained in a vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that nearly three out of four children are not properly restrained or properly placed in child safety seats, which increases the risk of death especially for infants and toddlers under the age of four.
Children under the age of five are required by every state in the U.S. to be placed in an approved safety seat. While most parents, roughly 90 percent, initially comply with the rule, many fail to continue to adhere to it while on the road. Parents will remove their child from the seat too soon, most often to move the infant or child to the front seat, which places the child in greater danger.
To make sure children are properly restrained parents should make sure they follow the safety seat instruction manual regarding usage and installation. Parents can also refer to the NHTSA website for guidance.
Hopefully growing public awareness of the importance of properly retraining children in vehicles will lead to safer roads for the nation's smallest passengers.