Children and Accidents
It is a fact of life that accidents happen. They can seriously injure people and sadly, can also cause deaths. In the United States, the number of injuries and deaths that happen to children is alarming–as well as tragic. Children die and are injured every year in various types of accidents. Many of these accidents could have been prevented, so it is always worth the effort to be extra careful and take that extra minute, that extra step.
Let’s talk about bicycle accidents. Between 60 and 70% of all bicycle injuries and deaths happen to cyclists who are under 25 years old. Of course it is due in part to the fact that this age group rides bicycles more than older adults. Between 500 to 1000 bicyclists are killed in the US each year by being hit by a motor vehicle. Usually it is a simple case of the driver not seeing the cyclist. This can be helped by making sure that if you or your children are bicycling, they are wearing bright clothing and something that is blinking or fluorescent, especially after dark. Cyclists always need to be aware of motor vehicles and take extra care in looking around before they proceed into any street or intersection.
Auto accidents of course are the nation’s largest killer of young people and children. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for children age 2 years old to 14. This is based on statistics from the US Department of Transportation. Approximately 250,000 children suffer injuries every year in automotive accidents (National Center for Statistics and Analysis). That translates to about 700 kids being injured every day. These accidents are our also the primary cause of what are known as acquired disability injuries—brain injury, spinal injury, paralysis, etc.
Obviously child seats and seatbelts for children can make a difference in the statistics. Believe it or not, a good percentage of American drivers still don’t buckle up and some of them don’t buckle in their children. It is estimated that in 50% or more of the accidents involving children, the children were not wearing a seatbelt or using a child safety seat. Being properly restrained greatly increases a child’s chance of sustaining lesser injuries in an accident. They are less likely to be seriously injured or die if they are buckled in.
Unfortunately, there is a national problem with proper use of child restraints in vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that between 70 and 75% of child safety restraints in vehicles are being used incorrectly and so this places the child at greater risk for injury. Many communities have recognized this problem and offer demonstrations and classes to educate parents about use of baby seats, booster seats and seat belts in vehicles. In our next article we will discuss other types of accidents that injure children. As injury attorneys, we see these cases and greatly hope that our efforts result in higher awareness, and safety for all children.