Parents want to keep their children safe from any dangers, most notably, while in the car. Most parents focus on car safety even before children are born, usually researching and acquiring the safest car seat months in advance.
When it comes to keeping children safe in the car, there are many hazards to be aware of and many precautions that can be taken to help ensure their safety. In 2019 alone, 608 child passengers under 12 years old were killed in car accidents, according to the CDC. That same year, more than 91,000 children were injured. Out of the children who were killed, an astonishing 38 percent of them were not buckled up.
Restraints, such as car seats, booster seats, and seat belts, are the most important safety measures for children of all ages. However, when children are injured due to car seat failure, human error is often the reason. When it comes to securing children into car seats, the most common mistake parents make is buckling children in too loosely. A child buckled too loosely can slip out of the car seat during a crash and suffer serious injuries, including being thrown from the car.
Another big mistake parents often make is graduating children from rear-facing car seats or from car seats to booster seats too soon. Rear-facing car seats are roughly five times safer and protect them from head and spinal cord injuries if the car stops short. It is recommended that children remain in rear-facing car seats until 2 years old. When children graduate to a booster seat, it is recommended that they remain in one until 10 to 12 years old, depending on height and weight, the laws of which vary among states.
Enforce seat belt wearing for teenage children as well. According to the CDC, teenagers have the lowest rate of seat belt use of any age group, as both drivers and passengers. Develop additional safety rules with your teenage drivers, such as directing them to not start the car until everyone is buckled, especially when the passengers are other young teenagers.
Other safety measures to keep children safe in and around vehicles are listed below.
There are times when eating in the car is unavoidable but avoid or limit allowing your children to eat in the car. Children can easily choke on food, particularly on bumpy roads and other surfaces that may shake the car. Because you cannot see them while eating or may not hear them if they choke, do not allow children in rear-facing car seats to have food.
Always hold your child’s hand while walking through parking lots. Young children do not understand the dangers of moving cars and why it is necessary to stay beside you at all times.
Make sure sleeping children are in safe positions. Make sure children remain snuggly buckled and secured in the proper position. Most convertible car seats and high-back booster seats provide support and safety for the head and neck, but make sure children do not sleep in positions that allow their chin to touch their chest to keep the airways open. This is especially important for children in rear-facing car seats.
Lock the Windows
Keep your windows on the child lock setting at all times. This feature allows the driver to operate the windows, but not those in other seats. The upward force of windows can range from 30 to 80 pounds and can suffocate or injure an infant at just 22 pounds of force. Locking the windows also prevents children who are able to unbuckle themselves from opening and falling out of the windows as well.
Use the Trunk
Store loose items in the trunk or rear compartment of a sport SUV or truck when traveling with children in the car. Groceries, laptops, and sporting equipment can easily become a projectile in an accident, making the force of flying loose items to cause serious injuries.
Lock the Doors
Car doors should always be locked when the car is in motion and make sure the back door child lock safety feature is on at all times to prevent children from opening the door. Keep doors locked when parked at home to keep children from getting into the car and become trapped or engage car controls, such as putting the car in gear and causing it to move. Never leave a trunk open where a child could climb in and become locked inside. If a child goes missing while playing outside, check your cars and the trunks first.
While most dogs love riding in cars, man’s best friend can become a dangerous projectile during a collision as well. In a crash that happens at 35 miles per hour, a 50-pound dog can project with 1,500 pounds of force, not only endangering the dog, but also other occupants in the vehicle. That much force can easily kill a small child. Keep pets restrained in a crate or carrier in the back seat or cargo area of an SUV.
Listen While Looking
The majority of new model cars come equipped with backup cameras to allow the driver a better view of what is behind the vehicle. Take this safety feature one step further and roll down the windows when backing up so you can hear if someone yells for you to stop, especially in areas with children nearby.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Represent Families Who Have Been Affected by Car Accidents
Car accidents can be catastrophic, especially when children are injured. If your loved one has been injured in a collision, one of our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC can help. Call us at 757-LAW-0000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore, Virginia. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.