There is nothing more traumatizing than seeing your child hurt in an accident. That is why parents will do anything they can to keep their children safe. Yet, even though parents will take all types of safety measures inside their home or when they are out with their children. Quite often, they seem to forget that proper motor vehicle safety is also critical.
Fortunately, in this blog, we want to help you take care of these safety protocols. Specifically, discussing why car safety is so vital, the steps you can take to ensure your child stays safe in a vehicle, and if an accident occurs, how an experienced personal injury attorney can get you the legal help you need.
New Orleans Car Accident Statistics Involving Children
According to research done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents remain the leading cause of child death. Research shows that:
- Automobile crashes result in one of every four unintentional injury deaths
- In one year, almost 97,000 children suffered some type of injury because of a motor vehicle accident
- Most accident deaths occur among children who are traveling as a passenger vehicle occupant
Common Types of Automobile Accident Injuries
What makes motor vehicle accidents so dangerous is they can cause a devastating injury to virtually any part of the body. However, some of the most common injuries that can result from an automobile accident include the following:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Steps To Ensure Your Child’s Safety After a Car Accident
Sometimes no matter how many precautions you take, there is no way to prevent a motor vehicle crash. However, this does not mean you cannot take actions to help reduce the risk of your child suffering significant harm if they are involved in an automobile crash.
- Do Not Drive Distracted: Yes, distracted driving does happen. Yet, in order to protect your child, you need to avoid these distractions. Even one glance away from the road can result in a deadly crash. That is why you must stay focused while driving. If you need to take a call or take care of a crying child, make sure to pull over in a safe location.
- Do Not Cut Costs: Most parents know how expensive baby gear is, and even though it may seem like a good idea to buy a second-hand car seat and save money. You should always opt for a newer version. Many times, when you purchase a used car seat or inherit it from an older cousin or sibling, the car seat may not be in good working condition. These car seats may have been damaged or even recalled, which means if your child is involved in an accident, this car seat may not provide them the protection they need, and serious injuries can result.
- Read the Instructions: Car seats are incredibly safe and have been known to reduce the risk of injury in a vehicle crash by 71% to 82% compared to wearing a seat belt alone. However, the car seat can only protect your child when it is installed correctly. That is why every parent needs to make sure they read the car seat instructions and the car manual before installing the car seat. In addition, if you are having issues with the installation process or just want to make sure the seat has been installed correctly, you can always take your car seat to a local police station or fire department to verify.
- Sit in the Back: If your child is under 12 years old, they should be in the back seat. This is because children under 12 are usually not large enough to ride in the front seat. Consequently, if the car is involved in an accident, the airbags in the front of the vehicle can cause the child to suffer some devastating injuries.
- Always Wear a Seat Belt: Even if you are just driving down the road, you still need to make sure that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up properly. The seat belt is one of the easiest ways to ensure your child’s safety, especially since you never know when your car can get hit by another driver or be involved in some type of accident.
- Never Leave Your Child in the Car: Vehicles can warm up quite quickly in a short period of time, especially when it is hot outside. When you leave your child in the car, even for a few minutes, the child can suffer heat stroke or even death.
Proper Use of Car Seats and Seat Belts to Protect Your Child in a Car Crash
Children restraints are the most successful way to prevent serious harm or death. Yet, when it comes to understanding how to properly buckle up your child in the car seat or a booster seat, the process may be somewhat confusing. However, the CDC makes it easy to understand the different stages.
Rear-Facing Car Seat
- These rear-facing car seats need to be used from birth until about the ages of two to four.
- Infants and toddlers need to be in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat, until they reach the max height and weight limits.
Forward- Facing Car Seat
- Once the child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, they will be transitioned into the forward-facing car seat until they are about five years old.
- These forward-facing car seats will remain in the back seat, and the child will ride in this seat until they reach the upper height and weight limit. It is best to always check the car seat manual for the weight and height limits.
- After the child reaches the maximum height and weight limits of the forward-facing car seat, they will use the booster seat until they can wear a seat belt properly.
- A child will be ready to transition out of the booster seat when the seat belt lays across their upper thighs (not their stomach), and the shoulder belt lays across their chest (not their neck).
Proper seat belt fit usually happens when the child is about 4 feet and 9 inches tall and about 9 to 12 years old. However, seat belt fits can vary depending on the vehicle, so it is essential to check the fit before transitioning a child over.
Get the Legal Help You Need to Fight For Your Child’s Rights
If your child was injured in a car accident, the situation can be overwhelming and horrifying. However, you do not have to go through this traumatic ordeal alone. When you retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to take on your case, these attorneys can quickly get to work, investigating the accident, gathering critical evidence needed to show fault, and going after maximum damages on your child’s behalf.
That is why do not wait. Contact the Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC today or call us at (504) 294-5118 and let our lawyers fight for the justice your child deserves.