Auto Accidents: How To Protect Children From Injuries
When you practice auto accident law for a long time, you see the devastation an auto accident can bring to a family. It is tough for a family to cope when a child is injured or killed in an auto accident. Unfortunately, auto accidents are a leading cause of death among children. In 2019 alone, more than 600 children younger than 13 died in motor vehicle crashes. This is according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Also, according to the IIHS, most crash deaths occur among children traveling as passenger vehicle occupants.
Sadly, sometimes, a parent can’t prevent an accident from happening. However, parents can take steps to protect their children from injuries during an auto accident. As a parent or guardian, you should be proactive in protecting your child in a car accident. According to the IIHS, ensuring proper restraint use is one thing parents can do to reduce crash-related child fatalities. The IIHS states that restraining a child in the rear seat reduces fatal injury risk by approximately three-quarters for children aged between zero and three and almost half for children aged between 4 and 8. Unfortunately, even though many children today ride restrained because of state laws, many children, especially those aged four and above, continue to ride unrestrained.
In Florida, specifically, child restraint is required for children aged five and below. According to the FLHSMV, as a Floridian, you are required to secure your child, who is aged five or under, in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. Remember, the best child restraint device is one that fits your child’s and is used correctly every time you drive. Examples of child restraint devices include car seats and booster seats. According to the CDC, the use of car seats for children reduces car accident injuries by 71 to 82% as compared to the use of seat belts use alone. On the other hand, the use of booster seats also reduces the risk for serious injury by more than 40% for children aged between 4 and 8 when compared with seat belt use alone. Therefore, as much as seat belts can reduce the risk of injury or death, it is best for a parent to use a seat belt together with another child restraint device such as a car seat or booster seat.
Below are some other ways to protect your child from injuries in a car accident:
Checking Car Seats for Wear and Tear
Generally, the owner’s manual should tell you when a car seat should no longer be used. But, a car seat’s life span is usually between 6 and 10 ten years. Therefore, it would be best if you replaced a car seat after five years. Even when it’s not yet time to replace a car seat, make sure you keep checking for wear and tear. If a car seat is not in good condition, replace it even if you have only used it for a few months or one year. It would be best if you never transported a child while they are seated in a damaged car seat.
Carefully Reading Instructions When Installing Car Seats
The FLHSMV advises parents, guardians, and any other adult with the responsibility of installing a car seat to read the car seat’s instruction manual and the portion of their car’s owner manual when installing a car seat. By doing so, you can make sure that you install the car seat correctly and minimize the risk of your child suffering injuries in a car accident.
What To Do After an Auto Accident
Unfortunately, even though the above things can reduce your child’s risk of being injured in a car accident, they may not eliminate the risk. Other negligent drivers can still make decisions that end up hurting your child. If your child suffers injuries in a crash, the first thing you need to do is take them to a medical professional. You shouldn’t delay seeking medical help for your child after a car accident. Even when an injury doesn’t seem obvious, take your child to a doctor. If you are also injured in the same accident that injures your child, make sure you also get medical help. After getting medical assistance, you should consult with an attorney. A personal injury attorney can fight for you and your child and help you obtain compensation for damages such as lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and decreased quality of life.
Contact a Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorney
One of the skilled Fort Myers personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. can review your case and advise you on your legal options. To schedule a free consultation, call us on 239-649-8050, or fill our online contact form.