Child Car Safety
Jim Hall of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wrote in 2000 a safety study titled “Putting Children First.” The study says that Americans do not demand action when children are killed in road crashes; unlike the public outcry generated by shooting accidents in schools. He added that in 1997, there were 191 children under the age of 10 who died in firearm-related incidents, while in that same year 1, 784 children under the age of 10 died in highway crashes. He considers the highways of America as the most dangerous places parents take their children. The NTSB works hard to correct this situation because unfortunately, any child can fall victim to car accidents.
NTSB declares that unintentional injury from motor vehicle crashes remains the leading cause of death in [Utah for children ages 1-14 years. Every year, on average, there are 28 young children killed, 263 hospitalized, and 4,903 treated in emergency rooms because of motor vehicle crashes. In addition, emergency room and hospitalization charges in 2007 totaled $9 million in Utah for this age group.
Fortunately for parents, government initiated occupant protection programs and projects are being implemented to protect the children in efforts to reduce the number of fatalities of road accidents. The NTSB projects will continue to work toward decreasing the unintentional death and injury rates among Utah’s children ages 14 and younger. Some of these are CPS Fitting Station Support, Safe Kids Utah Campaign, Buckle Up for Love and Click it or Ticket Campaign.
Here are some tips for Child Car Safety:
- Choose appropriate car seats for your child.
- If you are going to buy a used car seat, buy it from someone you know and not from a thrift store. Know its crash history and do not buy it if the car seat has been through a car crash.
- Have your car seat inspected by a local fitting station to see if the car seat is properly installed.
- Make it a habit to check around your car before backing out of the driveway. Small children might be standing at the back and hidden from your view.
- Remember that children should be in the backseat. The air bag in the front passenger seat is designed for 170 pound persons and an air bag can critically injure a child during its deployment in a crash.
- Make sure that every child is properly restrained in their seats. 67% of car accidents that resulted to death of a child, was the result of improper restraint.
- Drop the children on the same side of the school so that they won’t have to cross the street.
- Never leave any child in the vehicle alone, even for just a few minutes.
- Place some reminders in front of you to remind that you are traveling with young children. Another suggestion is to put your purse or briefcase in the back so that you will forget or leave the child behind.
- Keep car keys away from the children’s reach. Put them in your pocket as you exit the car. Never leave them dangling inside the car. A number of fatal accidents have happened because of keys being left in the ignition.
These are just basic reminders that can go a long way in protecting children. Remember, in the eyes of children, your actions are worth imitating. So buckle up and observe traffic rules. Remember you are traveling with precious cargo.