As a parent, you very likely do everything you can think of to keep your children safe and help them have a happy childhood that leads to a successful adult life. Unfortunately, if you are like most parents, you may actively ignore the single biggest statistical risk to your child.
After all, motor vehicles are such an ingrained part of modern American life that most people choose to more or less ignore how dangerous modern transportation really is. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading source of injury and death for minor children.
In 2017, the most recent year with statistics available, 675 children around the country lost their lives in collisions, with another 116,000 children suffering noteworthy injuries in car crashes. Understanding this risk and taking it seriously can reduce the likelihood that your children could eventually be part of those statistics.
Proper restraints are critical for safety in vehicles
Ensuring that your children wear seat belts and that they are in the right kind of car seat, if appropriate, can make the difference between life and death in the event of a crash. While your actual risk of a collision at any given moment on the road is minuscule, the potential exists every second that you or your children are in a car.
Newborns need to be in rear-facing infant car seats. Bigger babies and toddlers may safely sit in forward-facing car seats, while young children should sit in booster seats until they are almost 5 feet tall. Although older children aren’t fans of booster seats, that doesn’t make them any less necessary.
The right kind of car seat could potentially save your child’s life or prevent more serious injury in the event of a crash. Roughly 35% of all children ages 12 or younger who died in collisions did not have a seat belt on at the time of the accident.
Make sure your kids get timely medical care after a crash
The single most important thing other than avoiding a crash is to ensure your children receive the right kind of care if you experince a crash. Injuries that you can see, such as bruises and even broken bones, can cause pain that makes it easy to know that your children need care.
Other injuries, such as brain injuries or internal bleeding, may not be obvious or painful enough to prompt your children to demand a visit to the doctor. It is almost always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the health and safety of your children.
Even seemingly minor injuries, such as a simple broken bone, could result in long-term medical expenses if the damage is serious enough to affect the growth plate. Having a doctor evaluate the severity of the injury and the need for care will greatly improve your child’s prognosis and quality of life.