Twenty percent of children who were involved in a car crash with a fatality were not buckled properly, or they were not wearing a seat belt. Forty-three percent of the children who died in traffic crashes were unrestrained, 15% were sitting in the front seat, and 9% were riding in a vehicle with a driver who was under the influence of alcohol: so says a study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The study’s primary data source was the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
There was a wide range of variability regarding the percentage of children involved in fatal crashes throughout the states. The study reports that the percentage of unrestrained or inappropriately restrained children varied from 2% in New Hampshire to 38% in Mississippi. In Kentucky, 16% of the child fatalities there was no restraint or inappropriate restraint use, 77% of deaths occurred in accidents on rural roadways and 12% the speed limit was between 65-50 mph.
In Ohio, 14% of the children who died in traffic crashes in the study were unrestrained or improperly restrained, 34% of the fatal crashes occurred on state highways and 9% of the vehicles were traveling between 65-80 mph.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that all 50 states and the District of Columbia have child restraint laws, but despite more children being restrained, many still ride unrestrained. One of the goals of the study was to provide lawmakers with data to help improve safety regulations that effect children’s safety. The over-arching message that the study shows with glaring clarity is that parents must be far more vigilant about making sure that their children are properly restrained when they are passengers in a motor vehicle. As the study reveals, an improperly restrained child is no safer than an unrestrained child when it comes to a fatal car crash.
According to the study, a mere 10% improvement in the use of appropriate child restraint in cars would decrease the national child fatality rate significantly, reducing it from 0.94 per 100,000 to 0.56 per 100,000. Study authors also hope that the results of their research will have some impact on the federal level regarding child safety regulations.
What can you do as a parent? Make sure that your children are properly restrained every time they get into the car. If you are not sure is your child’s safety seat is installed properly, the NHTSA has a national child safety seat inspection station locater database on its website. Just enter your state or zip code and you can find a location near you.
If you or someone you care about has suffered a serious injury in a car crash, the team at Crandall & Pera Law can help. Our Ohio car accident lawyers know how to figure out what happened, how to identify and prove fault for any type of accident. If you want help now, please call 877.686.8879 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment.