The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (“CDC”) reports that car accidents are the leading cause of death among children. Moreover, a majority of these accidents are preventable. CDC data shows that 636 children aged 12 years and younger were killed in 2018 as a result of motor vehicle accidents. Additionally, nearly 100,000 children involved in these crashes suffered some type of injury.
Witnessing your child suffer injuries, especially in a car accident due to the fault of another, is a difficult experience for a worried parent. This is particularly true when the harm suffered by the child could possibly impact the rest of their lives. Thankfully there are some actions that concerned parents can take to help protect their children from harm and car accidents to avoid serious or even fatal injuries in the event of a crash.
Common Car Accident Injuries in Children
Since children’s brain and body are still developing, when they are involved in a car accident the injuries sustained can result in challenges both emotionally and developmentally that can affect them for the rest of their lives. While injuries sustained of depend on the circumstances of the collision, the most common include:
- Spinal cord issues;
- Fractured or broken bones;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Facial injuries;
- Chest injuries;
- Internal organ damage;
- Internal bleeding;
- Spinal cord damage; and
- Psychological and psychiatric issues.
Even a minor car accident can cause significant injuries to a child. Moreover, when a child misses school because of injuries from a car accident, not only do they suffer physical harm, but also isolation from friends can result in negative effects on their social development, cognitive function, and motor skills.
Keeping Your Children Safe
While it is true that not every accident can be avoided, a parent can take some steps to help make sure their child is safe even if the vehicle they are riding in is involved in a Nevada accident. According to research, child restraints, including car seats and seatbelts, are one of the best methods to prevent a child from experiencing severe injuries in a collision. This includes, according to the CDC, placing and buckling the child in a size and age-appropriate booster or car seat, or seatbelts with size adjusters. Research shows that:
- Compared to seatbelt use alone, a car seat can lower the risk of injury from a car accident by up to 82%;
- The risk of serious injury for children between the ages of four and eight drops by 45% when a booster seat is used instead of just a seatbelt;
- Seat belt use historically reduces the risk of serious injury or death by nearly 50% for older children.
Because child restraints are specific to age, height, and weight, there are several stages to child safety when riding in passenger vehicles. It is crucial to understand these different phases in order to keep your children safe. Specifically:
- Birth to ages 2 to 4: Rear-facing car seats should be used at this age to maximize safety until the child reaches the height limit or the upper weight limit of the car seat;
- Age 5 to 9: When the child outgrows the rear-facing seat, he or she should be moved into a forward-facing car seat. The child should be facing forward and buckled up in the back seat of the car and should remain here until he or she reaches the upper weight and height limit allowed for the seat;
- Ages 9 to 12: When the child becomes too big for a forward-facing seat, he or she will transition to a booster seat until they can sit in the car with the seat belt fitting properly — the bottom belt over their lap (not stomach) and the top belt over there shoulder and chest (not neck);
Once a booster seat is no longer necessary, a child should use a seat belt and remain in the back seat when riding in a passenger vehicle for the best protection in the event of a crash.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If your child was involved in a Nevada car accident, H&P Law’s skilled personal injury attorneys can help fight for the compensation you deserve. Our legal team has years of experience protecting the legal rights of those injured in car accidents. Contact our Las Vegas or Henderson offices today to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys and find out how we can help you through this difficult time.