A tragic motor vehicle accident recently took the life of a young mother and a two-year-old child in Virginia. The incident occurred when the mother was traveling in her vehicle on Route 24 at 6:00 AM. The mother started to veer off the side of the road and then when she discovered this, she overcorrected the car. With her over-correction, she ended up crossing the center lane of the highway and becoming involved in a head-on-crash. The driver of the other car survived, but mother and baby died, according to WDBJ.
Unfortunately, this is one of many incidents that occur each year when infants and young children are killed in auto accidents. Children may be especially vulnerable to being hurt in a motor vehicle accident because their young bodies and their bones are not fully developed yet and they are thus less able to withstand the force of a car crash impact. Parents need to know the dangers that young kids face and they must take steps to try to keep their children as safe as possible.
According to Parents.com, a total of 240,000 kids 16 and under get hurt in car accidents in the United States annually, and 1,700 children are killed each year in motor vehicle collisions. Car accidents are a leading cause of death for young children, and CBS reports that a big part of why kids are so at risk is because car seats are not being used properly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the risk of death in a car accident could be reduced by 71 percent for an infant and could be reduced by 54 percent for a toddler between the ages of one and four, provided that the appropriate car seat safety guidelines were followed.
Unfortunately, research from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests guidelines are not always followed. Researchers reviewed three years of data from 2007 to 2009. The data came from the National Survey on Booster Seats conducted by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unfortunately, it showed that parents often don't follow recommended guidelines, especially as children get older. As CBS reported on the study results: "As age increased, children were more likely to sit in the front seat of a car unrestrained, despite the guidelines."
Parents need to follow best practices for car-seat safety, but even when parents do everything right and take every possible precaution, there is still great potential for young kids to be hurt if a crash happens. Drivers should be cautious and do everything they can to avoid accidents so they do not harm babies, toddlers, or any occupants of vehicles. If a child is hurt in a car accident, the child may need a lifetime of medical care and the driver who caused the crash could be responsible for paying for these medical expenses.