Each year across the country, an estimated 250,000 children suffer injuries in traffic accidents, and hundreds of children die in fatal crashes. Sadly, many of these injuries could have been prevented by the actions of the parent, guardian, or vehicle driver. Even parents who believe they are transporting their children safely may be missing some of the most important steps they can take toward keeping their kids as safe as possible on the roads.
Here are five important reminders for driving parents:
- Always restrain your child in an age- and weight-appropriate way. Safety experts believe placing your infant in a safety seat reduces the risk of a car accident fatality by 71 percent, while properly restraining your toddler in a safety seat reduces serious injury by half. Be sure you are familiar with California child safety seat laws, and regularly weigh and measure your children to be certain they are in the seats safest for their respective sizes.
- Make sure your child’s car seat is installed correctly. Putting your child in a safety seat is not enough. As many as seven out of ten car seats are installed incorrectly, rendering them useless or even dangerous in the result of a crash. If you are a new parent, be sure to have your child safety seat inspected locally for proper installation.
- Never seat your young child in front of an air bag. When it comes to adults, air bags can save lives. When it comes to young children, air bags can be deadly. Because of a child’s size and height, an air bag can cause serious head injuries and trauma. Always place your child in the rear of the car. If you are unable to do so, place your child in the passenger seat, but disable the passenger-side air bag.
- Never, ever drink and drive. Sadly, almost 30 percent of child car accident fatalities involve a drunk driver. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is always illegal and dangerous, but doing so with a child in the car perhaps is even more reprehensible. There is always a way to avoid driving with children after you have been drinking. Do not make this mistake.
- Be a safe and responsible driver. Some child car accident injury prevention is as simple as obeying the rules of the road and driving defensively. Be extra aware of speed limits, tailgating, and safe passing techniques. Remember, you have precious cargo!
If your child has been injured in a car accident in Southern California, you may wish to speak with an Orange County personal injury attorney. Call Russell & Lazarus today at (949) 851-0222 for a free, private consultation.