One of the most dangerous activities a child can participate in is simply riding in a vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motor vehicle crashes are responsible for 1 out of every 4 unintentional injury deaths in children under the age of 13. The World Health Organization reports that traffic injuries are the leading cause of death in persons 10 to 19. And yet, with proactive safety measures, parents can both reduce the risk of an accident occurring and reduce the severity of injuries that are sustained in an accident.
After an accident, child injury victims may have the legal right to compensation for medical expenses, past and future, pain and suffering, and other losses.
The Importance of Car Seats
One of the most important safety measures a parent can take is the use of an appropriate car or booster seat which is properly fit to your child’s size and weight. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, in 2015, 248 children under the age of five were saved by a car seat. It is critical that parents both find the appropriate car seat for their child and ensure that it is properly installed. Follow the NHTSA recommendations for appropriately-sized car and booster seats. Even when a child is old enough and large enough to graduate out of a booster seat, it is important to continue using safety measures within the vehicle. Children under twelve should always ride in the back seat. Seat belts should lie across the upper thighs, and fall snugly across the shoulders and chest. Seat belts that fall on the stomach, neck, or face cannot adequately restrain a child in the event of a collision.
The Particular Problems of Teen Drivers
AAA reports that new teen drivers aged sixteen to seventeen are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident than adults. And for teen drivers, passengers are a critical problem. The New York Times reports that adding one non-family passenger to a teen’s vehicle increased the odds of having an accident by forty-four percent. Distracted driving is another common cause of accidents - one to which teens are particularly susceptible. Forbes reports on a Governors Highway Safety Association study which found teens to be the largest age group of drivers who were distracted at the time of an accident. While distraction is dangerous for any driver, it is particularly problematic for young, inexperienced drivers who are not always prepared to deal with obstacles in the road.
Parents can combat these statistics by enforcing clear rules for teen driving. Friends should never be permitted to distract a teen from driving. Phones should never distract a teen from the road, and parents can monitor this with a variety of apps which are available. Apple’s latest operating system, the iOs 11, comes with a “do not disturb while driving” feature. Parents should become familiar with the functionality of this feature and determine whether it (or similar driving apps) is appropriate for teen drivers.
If your child has been injured in an auto accident, consult with an experienced Orlando car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your child’s legal right to be compensated for his or her injuries must be protected.