Many parents worry about their child's safety in the car, and they have a right to be concerned. Based on statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14 in the United States. In 2008, 1,347 children in the U.S. under the age of 15 were killed in car accidents.
The good news is that the number of child fatalities in motor vehicle accidents has been steadily dropping for years. Still, a recent study by the NHTSA found that many parents do not properly use car seats for young children, and it is not uncommon for older children to ride in vehicles without using seat belts.
Parents can keep their children safe in the car by following the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations. Children under the age of two should have rear-facing car seats. Parents should heed the manufacturer's height and weight recommendations to know when to switch their child into a forward-facing car seat.
Forward-facing car seats should have a five-point harness. These seats are suitable for children over two years old until they reach the maximum weight and height for the car seat. Children should then use a booster seat until they are big enough for a regular seat belt. A child using an adult seat belt should be at least 57 inches tall, usually eight to 12 years old.
Children should ride in the back seat of the car until the age of 13. Additionally, parents can set a good example for their children by buckling up themselves.
If the worst occurs and your child is injured or killed in an accident, it is important to know that you can seek legal help. Parents may bring personal injury lawsuits to obtain compensation for their child's injuries and to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions.
Source: Time, "Do You Know How to Keep Your Kid Safe in the Car?," Alexandra Sifferlin, August 8, 2012