Motor Vehicle Accidents
Pediatric Associates has seen a significant number of consultations to the emergencies due to traffic accidents in recent months. According tot the American Academy of Pediatrics, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. A very high percentage of children who get hurt in car accidents are either not buckled in properly or not wearing a seat belt at all.
Many motor vehicle accident injuries can be prevented. Buckling children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats and seat belts reduce serious and fatal injuries. It is important to follow a few guidelines in order to reduce the likelihood of injury.
Drivers and passengers should:
- Be a good role model. Drive safe and always use your seatbelt on every trip, no matter how short
- Make sure that children are always properly buckled in the type of car seat that is appropriate for their age, height and weight
- Do not drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs and ensure others do the same
- Obey speed limits
- Drive without distractions (such as using a cell phone or texting)
- Make sure that everyone who transports your child uses the correct car seat or seat belt on every trip, every time
- Always use your car seat and use it well reading the instructions of the manufacturer
- Never leave your child alone in or around cars. A child can die of heat stroke because temperatures can reach deadly levels in minutes; be strangled by power windows, retracting seat belts, sunroofs, or accessories; knock the vehicle into gear, setting it into motion; be backed over when the vehicle backs up; become trapped in the trunk of the vehicle, etc.
- Never place a rear-facing seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an active front passenger airbag as it can cause severe head trauma by inflating
Types of Car Seats
|Age Group||Type of Seat||General Guidelines|
|All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 2 yearsof age or reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.|
|Children who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their convertible seat should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the weight and height allowed by their car seat manufacturer.|
|Booster Seats||All children whose weight and height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 – 12 years old. All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.|
|Older Children||Seat Belts||When children are old enough and large enough for the vehicle seat belt to fit them correctly, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for the best protection. All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat.|