In 2016, 723 children under the age of 13 died in passenger car accidents in the United States, according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The fatalities included 63 children under the age of one, 175 children between the ages of one and three, 280 children between the ages of four and eight, and 205 children between the ages of nine and twelve.
Many more children in each of these age groups were injured in car accidents.
As a parent, you want to do everything that you can to protect your child from being hurt or killed in a car crash and you want to take the appropriate actions to protect your child’s rights after a car accident.
Common Injuries Suffered by Children in Car Crashes
Some of the injuries suffered by children in car accidents include:
- Head or brain injuries.
- Lung injuries.
- Broken or fractured bones.
- Cuts and lacerations from broken glass.
- Dental injuries.
- Psychological injuries.
In some cases, the injuries are so severe that the child has died at the scene of the crash or after the accident.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Child From a Car Crash Injury
You would, of course, do anything to help prevent your child from being hurt in a crash. To that end, it is important to make sure that your child is always in an appropriate seat and appropriately restrained in the car. Alaska car seat laws require:
- Rear-facing car seats for children under the age of one or children over the age of one who do not yet weigh 20 pounds. It is important to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that all children under the age of two remain in rear-facing car seats.
- Forward-facing car seats for children between the ages of one and four who weigh at least 20 pounds. It is recommended that you keep your child in a five point harness car seat until your child reaches the maximum height and weight for the seat.
- Booster seats for children between the ages of four and seven who are not in forward facing car seats. Children should ride in booster seats until they are at least 57 inches tall (four feet, nine inches) and weigh 65 pounds.
Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that all children under the age of 13 ride in the back seat, even if they have outgrown their booster seats.
It is important that these laws are followed in your car and in every car in which your child is a passenger. Additionally, you should make sure that your child is only a passenger in cars driven by responsible drivers who will not drive while distracted, drunk, or drowsy and who will not be otherwise negligent.
What You Can Do If Your Child Has Already Been Hurt in a Car Crash
Unfortunately, even if you do everything described above, some accidents are out of your control and your child may be injured. If this happens to your child, then your first step should be to get your child medical attention—even if you do not see any outward signs of trauma. You want to make sure that your child’s injuries are diagnosed early and treated promptly so that his pain can be managed and his recovery can be as complete as possible.
Once your child has received medical care, then you may want to turn your attention to protecting your child’s legal rights. Your child did not cause the crash and may have the right to recover damages or his past, current, and future healthcare costs, pain, and suffering. Additionally, any future out-of-pocket costs or lost income should be included in his recovery.
To learn more about how you may be able to help your child during this difficult time, please contact Attorney Ben Crittenden for a free, no-obligation consultation. Your child is dependent upon you to take action and Ben can make sure that the right action is taken to protect your child’s recovery. Please reach out to our office via this website or by phone to learn more today.