How Can I Keep My Children Safe While Riding in a Car?
When driving a car with your family, your children are your most precious cargo and you would do anything in your power to keep them safe — and for good reason. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children 12 and under. In 2018, over 97,000 children were injured in traffic crashes. Of those injuries that unfortunately resulted in death, 33% of the children were not buckled in safely. Adults and their actions can make a literal life-and-death difference for the children under their care.
If you do find yourself and your children injured as a result of an accident, know that you may have grounds to pursue a claim for all of your resulting medical bills and other costs. Speaking with a Tampa car accident lawyer allows you to discover who is at fault and pursue a claim for the maximum amount of available damages.
To reduce the risk of serious injuries should you get into an accident, here are some ways to ensure your child’s safety while riding in a car:
Select the Correct Safety Seat for Your Child
The good news is that there are ways to significantly reduce the risk of serious injury or death in the event of a car accident. Studies have shown that when child safety seats are properly installed and used, the risk of death is reduced by 70% for infants and 55% for toddlers. Picking the correct safety seat for your child is one of the most important things you can do to keep them safe in the car.
Types of Car Safety Seats
- Rear-Facing — These are the safest seats for your young child. These seats are designed for newborns and small babies and provide the necessary head and neck support needed to keep your child safe in a crash. Most models are designed for children from 0–2 years of age, or max out between 22–35 pounds.
- Convertible Seats — These seats can face either forward or backward and are generally used for toddlers between the ages of 2 and 4. The weight limit supports children until they weigh 30–40 pounds. Once children have become too tall to use their seat while rear-facing, it is recommended that they continue to use a car seat until at least 5 years of age.
- Booster Seats — These seats are used as a transition to seat belts by children who have outgrown their forward-facing seats but are not yet tall enough to use seat belts alone. These seats should be used with children until they reach the height of 4 ft, 9 inches when a traditional seat belt will fit properly. Even though many children may transition to seat belts before they reach this height, they run the risk of incurring damage from the seat belt to their spleen, liver, intestines, and spinal cord in the event of a serious crash.
- Seat Belts — Once children are tall enough to use seat belts safely, it is still imperative that they continue to sit in the back seat and use their seat belt every time they go on a trip, even for short errands. The seat belt fits properly when the bottom belt fits snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach, and the shoulder belt lays across the chest, not the neck.
All car seats should be installed based on the manufacturer’s directions. If you are unsure, you can get help installing them from a certified child passenger safety technician. Car seats and children 12 and under should always be placed in the backseat of your vehicle due to the risk of injury from airbags in the front. The middle of the backseat is the safest seat in your vehicle.
Heatstroke is a leading cause of non-crash-related fatalities in children. Heatstroke happens when a child is left in a very hot vehicle, which causes a child’s core body temperature to rise very quickly. Symptoms of heatstroke begin to appear at once the body warms to 104 degrees, and can become lethal once the temperature reaches 107 degrees.
Even the best parents could possibly forget a quiet child in the backseat. Here are some tips to prevent a heatstroke accident from happening to your child:
- Look before you lock — Make it a habit to glance in your backseat every time you leave your car.
- Lock your car when it’s unattended — According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 30% of heatstroke accidents occur when an unsupervised child finds their way into a hot vehicle.
- Never leave your child in the car unattended — The temperature in your car can still rise to deadly levels even if it’s not extremely hot outside. Heatstroke accidents can occur throughout the year, not just in the summer.
A backover accident is one in which a vehicle backs over a child because the driver was unaware that the child was behind the vehicle. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are often very serious and can result in deadly injuries.
In order to avoid backover accidents, there are a few things you can do to ensure everyone stays safe:
- Teach children not to play around cars
- Never leave children unattended around cars
- Have your children keep all toys out of the driveway
- Check all mirrors and your rearview window in addition to glancing at your backup camera, if you have one
Contact a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Of course, these are just a few things to be mindful of when your child is in a vehicle. However, no matter what steps you take to be safe while your children are riding in a car, accidents can still happen. Unfortunately, when children are involved in a car accident, it can often involve serious injuries. These injuries can cause long hospital stays and rack up expensive medical bills. Having an injured child can affect your ability to work and earn money for your family.
If you, your child, or a loved one has been involved in a serious traffic accident, contact Darrigo & Diaz, where you will reach experienced attorneys who will provide a free no-risk consultation. Darrigo & Diaz can provide you with an attorney to help you and do everything possible to maximize your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve. Call (813) 437-5523 or contact us online to schedule your free, confidential appointment now!