Precious Cargo: Keeping Your Children Safe in the Car

Every 33 seconds, a child is involved in a car crash. [1] Car crashes continue to be a leading cause of death of children in the United States. [2]

An average of 11 children per week died in motor vehicle accidents nationwide between 2010 and 2014. Of these deaths, 43% were either unrestrained or improperly restrained, including 15% who were sitting inappropriately in the front seat. [3] As a parent, grandparent, or other caregiver, nothing is more important than to keep our children safe from harm. As a driver, young children are the some of the most vulnerable passengers in the car. What can we do to protect them?

Choose and use a properly installed child safety seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury in passenger cars by 71% for infants less than one year old, and by 54%for toddlers age 1 to 4 years old. [4] Visit www.UltimateCarSeatGuide.org, for information about which car seat to purchase, how to properly use it, and when to move your child to a booster seat or seatbelt. This is a great resource of information gained from checking nearly 2 million car seats at Safe Kids Buckle Up events.

Inspect your car seat installation. Be sure your seat is safely installed. A trained Child Passenger Safety Technician can help you. Depending on where you live, many local fire, police, or sheriff’s departments offer free car seat inspections. In my county, our local Health Department does as well.

In case of an accident, make sure important information needed by first responders is available. Use a sticker or tape information with the child’s name, emergency contact, and medical information on the car seat. This will help the emergency response team determine important information about the child and act quickly.

You never know when an accident might occur, but if it does, you’ll be glad you took the time to keep your precious cargo safe.

[1]  https://www.safekids.org/press-release/every-33-seconds-child-involved-car-crash

[2] https://www.safekids.org/sites/default/files/documents/skw_motor_vehicle_fact_sheet_2016_final.pdf

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/29/health/car-accidents-child-deaths-seat-belts.html?WT.mc_id=SmartBriefs-Newsletter&WT.mc_ev=click&ad-keywords=smartbriefsnl&_r=0

[4] https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812374

 

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