Motor vehicle accidents involving young children are dangerously increasing. The injuries that children sustain in such accidents are one of the leading causes of death of children in the US. Car accidents can be prevented, and with the correct child safety measures used, so can injuries.
Types of Restraints
For babies, aged 0 – 18 months, there is no other option than a car safety seat, which in some countries is mandatory. For children 18 months to 2 ½ years, a larger car safety seat can be used, and as the toddlers age, booster seats can be fitted into the car accordingly.
Once the child is old enough to sit without a seat, usually by age 4-5, the regular seat belt is considered efficient.
In a 2010 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US, it was found that children in safety seats were at less of a risk of sustaining incapacitating injuries in a car crash. Unrestrained children were eight times more likely to suffer incapacitating injuries than children who were restrained. Children who are positioned securely in their appropriate safety seats have a much lower risk of serious or fatal injuries.
Safe Seating Positions
Although the restraints help in preventing serious injuries, seating positions also play an imperative role in car accidents. The same 2010 study indicated that children who were sitting in the front were twice more likely to sustain incapacitating injuries than children who were seated in the rear or second row.
The American Association of Pediatrics stated in 2008 that the safest spot for a child seat was to be positioned in the center of the rear seats. It was also stated that children under the age of three who were seated in the center of the back seat had a 43% lower chance of injury compared to children seated on the outer sides of the rear seats.
Keeping Your Child Safe and Secure in the Car
The best place to have your child sit is in the rear, with a restraint system intact. For older children, parents must make sure that their child securely fastened their seat belt before the car begins moving. A seat belt cannot be too loose or too tight, and it is the parent’s responsibility that they ensure the seat belt is properly tightened.
For younger children, the safest spot is in the middle of the rear seats, in a car safety seat. The belt in the safety seat must also be securely fastened before travel. Parents much check that the child is comfortable in the seat and is not able to open the seat belt at any time.
Safety positions are very important for children. Sometimes we are unable to prevent a car accident from happening, but keeping our children safe is possible. Proper usage of car restraints and seating positions will help prevent any serious or fatal injuries from occurring. Children are very fragile and can be injured quite severely in a car accident. It is up to the parents to ensure their safety to the best of their ability.
Useful References for child car safety: