When car accidents occur, few passengers suffer more life-altering injuries than children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that approximately 91,000 children below the age of 12 sustained injuries due to car crashes in 2019, and more than 600 lost their lives.
Injury risk factors for children between the ages of infancy and age 12 are similar to most individuals in this age range, and remaining aware of them may assist adult drivers in keeping their young passengers safer.
Lack of safety seat usage
In many crashes where children received injuries or lost their lives, the lack of a safety seat is one major factor. While children may outgrow their infant car seats, many still require booster seats so their seatbelts fit safely and protect them during a crash. Most seatbelt systems do not fit children under the age of 12, so using booster seats for elementary school-aged children can keep them safer.
Driver seatbelt usage
In many cases, drivers who do not use seatbelts themselves are less likely to require minor passengers to use theirs. Whether because of discomfort or personal beliefs, drivers may choose to ignore seatbelt laws, but this could lead to serious injuries for their children. Adults can set a good example by wearing their seatbelts each time they get behind the wheel.
Incorrect car seat usage
Child car seats that are not installed correctly may fail to restrain children during an accident. The seat may come unsecured at the moment of impact, increasing the risk of injury or death.
Alcohol usage and speeding also often play a part in crash-related injuries for children. Drivers can reduce these risks by operating vehicles responsibly and by obeying all the rules of the road.