Posted on October 21st, 2011 by Zane Cagle
Unrestrained Child in Crash
A three year old child from Belleville, IL was killed on Saturday when he was thrown from a minivan during an auto accident according to The St. Louis Post Dispatch. The driver failed to negotiate a curve and was headed into the path of oncoming traffic when she overcorrected. This overcorrection caused the van to spin out and lose control. The child, riding in the rear passenger seat on the lap of another passenger, was ejected from the vehicle when it lost control, and the van eventually came to rest on top of the child. The driver was estimated to be going 60 mph in a 45 mph, as she was trying to get to the child to the hospital for treatment for a facial injury. Only the driver was wearing a seatbelt.
This tragic incident is a reminder of the necessity of car safety seats for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests keeping children in some kind of safety seat until they are at least 8 years old. For an infant, a rear-facing safety seat should be used until they are around 2 years old. After that, a forward facing safety seat with a harness should be used for any child older than 2 or too large for the infant car seat. A child should then use a booster seat until he or she is around 8 years old, depending on the size of the child . The seats should always be placed in the back seat for added protection for the child.
Just because a parent uses a car safety seat, however, does not guarantee the child will be safer. It is estimated that 80% of car safety seats are used improperly by the parent, thereby negating the use of the safety seat according to The St. Louis Post Dispatch. Also, parents routinely use car seats that are the wrong size for their child’s age or weight, greatly reducing the effectiveness of the seat. It is extremely important that the parent follows the guidelines for their safety seats, making sure that the seat is properly secured, that it is appropriate for their child, and that it is located in the back seat of the car to prevent injury from a passenger-side airbag. If a parent is unsure if the car seat is appropriate for their child or unsure if the seat is properly installed, the National Highway and Transportation Administration has designated free inspection stations located throughout each state.
From 2000-2008, over 6,500 children age 4 and under were killed in motor vehicle accidents. The NHTSA says that properly-used safety seats can reduce the risk of death 71% for infants and 54% for children age 1-4. It can also reduce the risk of hospitalization for children under 4 by 69%. In Missouri, the law requires that all children under 3, or children small than 4’9″ or weighing less than 80lbs, must be in a child safety seat. In Illinois, all children aged 7 and under must ride in a safety seat. While the statues vary between the states, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have some law compelling the parent to use a safety seat for a child. See car seat site statistics. If each parent takes the time to ensure that they are using a proper safety seat for their child, and that that safety seat is properly installed, we can greatly reduce the number of children killed or injured in car accidents in the United States. At The Cagle Law Firm, education and safety are two of our major goals. The reason for our blog is to increase safety awareness for adults and children. We have previously blogged about child car seats and discussed the importance of proper usage of the seats. As the father of two small children, Zane is very familiar of how easy it is to be tempted to drive just down the road without his child fully strapped into the child safety seat. However, when you see the number of fatal accidents we see in our line of work, it makes you ever vigilant about safety in general and car safety in specific. Tragic accidents can happen so quickly and easily to the best of parents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, it is wise to consult a personal injury attorney to be certain that your rights are protected. If you don’t call Zane T Cagle at 1(314) 276-1681, at least call an attorney. Waiting and hoping the insurance company with fairly compensate you is usually a bigger risk than any of us can afford.