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Children's Passenger Safety

Most people are aware of the risks associated with car accidents; these are a leading cause of serious injuries in most states and throughout the country. While it's not always possible to prevent car accidents from happening, using the right safety restraints and selecting the right vehicle may be the best ways to help prevent severe injuries if an accident does happen.

Every parent has a top concern of keeping their child safe at all times. Many parents are aware of the alarming number of accidents involving vehicles that can expose children to significant injuries. Given that children are still developing physically and mentally, the impact of a car accident can be far reaching. Even when a child is properly belted and buckled into the car, accidents can occur.

How to Address Children's Passenger Safety Concerns

Child passenger safety requires a complex and comprehensive approach including appropriately installed booster seats or safety seats and seatbelts that are appropriate for a child's age as well as size. Motor vehicle crashes, unfortunately, despite the advances in technology over the last several decades are the leading cause of death among children, according to research shared by the CDC. An average of four children under age 14 were killed and more than 520 were injured every day in car accidents in 2008.

Passenger deaths are a leading impact of vehicle accidents. Approximately one-third of passenger deaths for children under the age of four and 42% of passenger deaths for those children aged 4 to 7 were a result of poor restraint. Parents can do the appropriate research to determine the best seatbelt or booster seat to use for their children. Having the right restraining mechanism in place can help to prevent severe injuries when an accident does occur. Child safety belts and seats can reduce fatal injuries by as much as 71% for infants and 54% for children under age four. Legislators and advocates for children's passenger safety have concluded that the most appropriate strategies to improve child passenger safety include:

  • Child safety seat distribution and education.
  • Child safety seat laws.
  • Safety seat education.
  • Education and incentive programs that reward parents for the proper use of safety seats.
  • Enhanced enforcements campaigns.

When a child is injured in a vehicle accident as a passenger, if he or she is not properly restrained, they could be thrown elsewhere in the vehicle or ejected from the vehicle entirely. This can lead to catastrophic injuries or even fatalities that can change the life of the family forever. Some of the most common injuries sustained in child passenger accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Burns
  • Scars
  • Internal organ damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Paralysis

No matter what type of injury is sustained by a child after being involved in an accident as a passenger, for the family it may feel as though life has been changed forever. Getting appropriate medical attention may not even help to illuminate the parents about all of the potential medical conditions that the child has sustained as a result of the injury. Some of the injuries in the accident may not be readily apparent, causing the parents to have to develop a comprehensive treatment plan with the help of doctors and to spend a great deal of money on medical costs.

Children's passenger safety is an important issue and one that should receive more attention from parents and caregivers who are committed to buying the proper car seats, installing them appropriately and upgrading these materials as the child's age and size increase. Having the right car seat is a crucial component for preventing fatal and catastrophic injuries for children while passengers inside a vehicle. When accidents do happen, it's important to get medical attention right away. Taking the child to the hospital can help to flag critical medical issues early on and give the child and parents the best possible opportunity for a full recovery.

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