Articles Posted in Child Safety

The number one cause of death to young children is motor vehicle accidents. In fact the statistic is chilling: five American children are killed every day in a car accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NHTSB) held a forum this week to provide recommendations on child car seat safety.

Studies have shown that small children in rear-facing car seats are five times safer than children in forward-facing car seats yet parents are not getting this message. In addition, poorly designed car seats, improper installation and poor seat fit can effect how well a car seat protects in a car accident.

In other countries like Sweden, children remain in rear-facing car seats until they are 4-years-old.

Car Safety for Children:

  • All children under the age of 13 should ride in the rear seat.
  • Car seats should be placed in the center of the rear seat.
  • Infants should be in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the age of 1 or weight at least 20 pounds. Though this is a minimum requirement, studies suggest children should be in a rear-facing seat as long as possible.
  • Children should remain in forward-facing car seats until they are at least 4 years of age and are at least 50 pounds.
  • Children between the ages of 4 to 8 should be placed in booster seats.
  • After children are 8 years old and at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, they should remain in the rear seat and be required to always wear seat belts.

For great information on car seats and booster seats, see The Car Seat Lady web-site.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in Seattle Motor Vehicle Accidents and the family of those killed.

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The journal Pediatrics just released a new study which compared the car accident injury rate among New York children before and after car booster seats were mandated for children between the ages of 4 and 7.

A child booster seat law went into effect in New York State in March of 2005. The study showed that the rate of car accident injuries in the 4 to 6 year old age group dropped by 18% after the booster seat law went into effect. Before the law went into effect, only 29% of 4-6 year old children were strapped into booster seats. After the law went into effect, usage went up to 50%.

Booster seats were designed for children who have outgrown traditional car seats but need to be raised in a position so that lap and shoulder belts correctly fit across the shoulder and hips.

Every year on average there are approximately 37 deaths due to children being left in hot cars. This year, there have already been 18 fatalities from hyperthermia or heat stroke. This number is higher than previous years and we are not even into July which historically has the highest numbers of deaths.

Some of the hotter states have had multiple child fatalities so far this year. There have been six child deaths in Texas, two in Tennessee and two in Missouri.

Inside temperatures in motor vehicles can easily rise to 140 degrees or more in a short time.

Summer is supposed to be fun for kids but summer is the time when emergency rooms see more accidental deaths in children including drowning, heat related injuries and sun burns.

The following are some things to think about in the summer to avoid tragic accidents:

seattle wrongful death attorneySwimming Pool Accidents – Many people think that pool parties are safe because there are many adults around. The truth of the matter is that adults can be very preoccupied at parties. At parties, a safety monitor should be designated who’s job is to be “life guard” at the pool. Another safety measure is to move excess pool toys and inflatables out of the water so that they do not block the view.

One of the most tragic pedestrian accidents are driveway back over accidents in which a family member, friend, or neighbor accidentally backs over and seriously injures or perhaps kills a child. In 2007, there were approximately 2,000 children injured when a car or truck backed over a child and almost 100 deaths. Every year, the numbers are very similar.

Some vehicles come equipped with object detection devices but even with sensory systems like rear view cameras, half of drivers still hit objects behind them. One of the reasons is that each vehicle has blind spots or zones in which drivers do not have clear vision. Minivans, SUVs and pickup trucks have the largest blind spots. Blind spots can also exist in the front of cars and children can be hit and run over when a vehicle pulls forward into a driveway.

Tips to prevent a back over accident:

This is not a pleasant post but it is one that must be written because it is important that parents, caregivers and motorists be aware that one of the deadliest types of car/pedestrian accidents occur in driveways. Today, we entered the term “driveway accident” into a Google news search and found the following news stories:

issaquah pedestrian accident attorney

  • Wenatchee World. April 14: A 17 month old boy suffered cuts, scrapes, and bruises when he was hit by the undercarriage of a vehicle that was backing out of a driveway.
  • The Olympian: April 14: A 3-year-old girl, Saniah Marcus, died after an accident in which her mother’s 25-year-old fiancé pulled out of the driveway and ran over and killed the girls while she was riding her tricycle in University Place.

The American Academy of Pediatrics just released their November 2009 journal and it contains a note-worthy study reporting that boosters seats for children ages 4 through 8 greatly reduces injury in car accidents.

seattle car accident attorneyThe most recent study cited looked at 7,151 children involved in car accidents. The study reiterated that a best practice is that children should remain in booster seats when riding in motor vehicles until they are at least 8 years old. The bottom line was that children who were involved in accidents were 45% less likely to be injured than children of the same age who were only wearing seat belts.

To read the full article, see the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal.

Governor Christine Gregoire has declared October 18-24 as “Teen Driver Safety Week.” Car accidents are the leading cause of fatalities among teenagers in Washington State. So far this year, 33 teenagers have died in traffic accidents. In 2008, 37 teenagers between the ages of 16-19 were killed in motor vehicle accidents and 258 sustained serious injuries.

The Washington Department of Transportation has developed a web-site in conjunction with WA Teen Driver Safety week and has a lot of resources for teenage drivers and their parents including information on Washington’s intermediate driver licensing law. The web-sites report that there are a lot of ways parents can educate their teenager and keep them safe while driving:

  • Know and enforce the intermediate driver license
  • Restrict night driving.
  • Restrict passengers.

The National Safety Council mission is “to educate and influence people to prevent accidental injury and death.” To that end, they want to let parents, caregivers, and motorists that often the most deadliest car/pedestrian accidents occur in one’s own driveway.

Every year, more than 100 children are killed and thousands more are injured when a car backs over them, often in their own driveway. The NSC cautions drivers to walk around their car before backing out and making sure drivers know where children and pets are before backing out.

Now that the temperature is getting warmer in the SeattleBellevueTacoma metropolitan area, parents, grandparents and caregivers are reminded to not leave a child unattended in a car. In 70º weather, the temperature in a car can rise much higher than that in a short period of time and small children and pets are susceptible to heatstroke which can result in a serious injury including brain injury and even death.

We came across a book that might be worthwhile reading to parents of teenagers who are embarking on their driving career. Entitled, Licensed to Drive! Using the Power of Story to Instill Wisdom and Safety in the Next Generation of Drivers by Lynn Bieber, MS MFT, the book teaches teen drivers by telling stories.

Car accident statistics are very worrying to most parents: In a given year, more than 4,000 teenage drivers are killed in car accidents and even more will have their lives altered because of serious injuries and disabilities such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and severe facial cuts and fractures.

The premise of this book is that teenagers can relate to a story better than a lecture. Written by a licensed Marriage Family Therapist the author raised four children and her youngest son was killed in a car accident. She writes from her wisdom and experience.

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