Automobile accidents are a leading cause of injuries to minors and children. In many cases, preventable measures can help prevent the burn injuries, broken bones, fatalities, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries that child victims sustain each year due to car crashes. Most experts agree that correct use of car restraints is the single most important thing that drivers can do to ensure that child passengers in a car remain safe. According to a 2005 study by the Motor Accidents Authority of New South Wales, 82% of child-aged victims of car accidents needing hospitalization were not using child restraints correctly at the time of an accident.
Another study conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre has found that 70% of child restraints are not used correctly or are not fitted properly. Incorrectly fitted and incorrectly used child safety restraints can render the restraints useless and in some cases can even place the child at additional risk in a car accident. Always read directions on safety restraints carefully and follow manufacturer’s directions to the letter. If you are confused about how to fit or use child safety restraints, call the manufacturer or get advice from the store where you purchased the child restraints.
Also, make sure that you register your child safety restraints after you make your purchase so that you will be contacted immediately if your restraints are recalled for any safety issues. If at all possible, buy new child safety restraints, since previously owned items may have sustained damage or may have been recalled. If you do need to buy a used child safety restraint system, check for any obvious signs of wear and tear and check to make certain that the make and model have not been recalled.
When driving with child passengers, always place the child in the back seat. Airbags and dashboards can cause serious trauma and head injuries to children during an accident. Also, before you drive away, check your car for loose items. Any items on the seats or the floor of your car can become a projectile in an accident and can cause serious injury to a small child. Place all unsecured items in your glove compartment or trunk. Also, activate childproof locks before putting the car in motion.
If you are driving with a small child, provide some form of entertainment in the form of books on tape or games. This will keep the child from playing with locks, distracting the driver, or playing with harnesses and seatbelts. Praise your child passenger if they remain quiet and refrain from getting out of their safety restraints.
While many parents see a car accident as one of their worst nightmares, many children each year are killed or seriously harmed or even killed because they are left alone in a car. It is essentially to never leave your child in a car unattended, even for just a few minutes. Serious accidents can happen to children left alone in a car. Temperatures can rise very rapidly in a car and can easily cause a child to suffer dehydration and heatstroke. Children left alone in a car have also accidentally burned themselves on cigarette lighters and have accidentally put cars into neutral or reverse.