The Newest Stats on Child Injuries in Car Accidents
Parents have a lot to worry about — every day they’re bombarded with news of threats to their children, including everything from pedophiles to influenza to bathtub drownings. However, the sad truth is, more children die every year from injuries sustained in a car accident than from any other cause. It’s extremely sobering to look at the statistics on this easily preventable cause of death.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) recently published a study analyzing the statistics surrounding children and car accidents. Some of the data you might expect: For instance, children are around ten times more likely to suffer incapacitating injuries in a rollover crash as in any other kind of accident. However, other findings were more surprising.
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Types of Injuries of Children
Head injuries were the most common type of injury suffered by children in car accidents, closely followed by damage to the chest and lungs. Children over the age of one were more likely to have cuts, bruises, and fractures of the head, while children under the age of one usually sustained concussions. These types of injuries have particularly serious impacts on children because of their skeletal development, and can cause effects ranging from reading disabilities and developmental delay to paralysis and psychological disorders.
The Safest Part of the Car for Children
The study found that the safest part of the car for children was the second row when considering front and side crashes; however, there was no difference in the rate of injury for children in rear end collisions based on where they sat. Children seated in the front row of seats were more than twice as likely to be injured in front end crashes than those sitting in the back seat.
Restraint vs. Non-Restraint
Perhaps the most significant finding of the study confirmed what most people already know — using restraints, especially car seats, had a huge impact on limiting injury and death. The DOT states that all children under the age of eight should ride in a child safety seat, and should not rely on seat belts for safety. The study found that children riding without restraints were seven times more likely to have an incapacitating injury or fatality than those using car seats. Likewise, children in car seats were 50% less likely to be injured than those using safety belts.
From this data, it’s easy to see how important it is to use proper restraints when transporting children, and how terrible it is that such an easily preventable tragedy should be the leading cause of death. According to these numbers, if every parent restrained their child properly while driving, such measures would save more than 500 children a year, and spare hundreds of others debilitating injuries.