The world we live in is dangerous.  It doesn’t take much more than the news to see it: conflict overseas, the constant threat of terror, pandemic diseases, cancer rates on the rise – but what we tend to forget is that some of the most common and preventable causes of death and injury can be chalked up to failure to observe safety regulations while performing commonplace activities, such as driving.  the unfortunate reality is that the consequences of such negligence are received by the world’s youth, with the leading number of injuries to children on an international scale, caused by traffic collision, sits right around 260,000.

The good news is that the CDC recently released a report on child passenger safety that shows deaths related to motor vehicle crashes in children 12 years and younger decreased by a whopping 43 per cent in the nine years between 2002 and 2011.  The bad news is that around 9,000 children did die during those years, and one-third of those children weren’t buckled up or safely secured in a car seat – and this doesn’t even account for the number of children injured but not killed. It is estimated that 150 children between infantile ages and 19 years old visit emergency rooms every hour due to injuries related to automobile accidents.

So what are we doing as a society to prevent the preventable? Besides avoiding the obvious, such as driving while intoxicated, texting and driving, or driving with little sleep, there are a number of safety tips to adhere to and mistakes to avoid when it comes to securing our children on the roads:

  • Use a Car Seat/Buckle Up – This might sound like a no-brainer, but the facts are the facts: 33 per cent of the children that died in auto accidents over the last 10 years weren’t buckled up (and that’s higher for the 8-to-12-year-old range, where 45 per cent of fatalities were not secured by a seatbelt.)  It’s the law in every state, county, and city that I can think of, so do your part to protect your kids and fasten them in.
  • Using the Car Seat Improperly – If you’ve left the straps too loose on the car seat, not been sure about which way to face the car seat, or have had the same car seat for your child since infancy, you’re increasing the risk of injury or death for your child in the case of an accident.  Make sure that you read the user’s manual for your specific model of car seat and follow the safety regulations.
  • Allowing Them to Sit in the Passenger Seat – Yes, your children will probably beg for you to put them in the front seat, and yes, the broken record style of begging may almost drive you to give in to their pleas – but the simple fact is that the front seat is not as safe as the backseat.  Until they are 12 years old, keep them where they are safe.
  • Find More Tips on USA Today.

It’s good to keep in mind that the rates of infant and child death due to auto accidents are going down, and hopefully will continue to.  Do your part and protect your child – someday, if we are all vigilant about our children’s safety, we’ll reduce their auto death and injury rate to zero.

That’s not hopeful thinking; that’s a fact.


Our thanks to Sofia Francis for this eye-opening article that lets us know that  our children’s safety is in our hands, at all times, and especially when we are driving. pb