According to The New York Times, the most common cause of death in children under the age of 15 is unintentional injury, and the most common cause of unintentional injury is car accidents without the use of seat belts.
Between 2010 and 2014, 2,885 children died in motor vehicle accidents nationwide, which is an average of 11 children a week! And unfortunately most of these children who died were not wearing seat belts. This nationwide statistic showed that 43 percent of these children were unrestrained or improperly restrained. Another 15 percent were sitting inappropriately in the front seat, and 13 percent were riding in cars driven by somebody under the influence of alcohol.
Also, some roads proved more dangerous than others. Rural roads were the worst with 67 percent of deaths among children occurred on roads classified as rural by the Federal Highway Administration.
Do you know the proper vehicle restraint for your child?
Use a booster seat with the vehicle lap AND shoulder seat belts until your child passes the following Safety Belt Fit Test:
- Be sure your kids are ready for a seat belt by giving them the following Safety Belt Fit Test:
- Your children’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when their backs and bottoms are against the vehicle seat back; and
- The vehicle lap belt should fit across the upper thighs; and
- The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest. Children are usually between 8 and 12 years old when the seat belt fits them properly.
- Once your children pass the Safety Belt Fit Test, teach them the importance of using seat belts on every ride, whether they’re with you or not. This is a habit you can instill at an early age. If they learn this lesson early, they’ll be more likely to buckle up when they’re older or when you’re not around.
- Kids are VIPs – just ask them. VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all kids in the back seat until they are 13.
- When adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. So be a good example and buckle up for every ride. Be sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.
- A lap and shoulder belt provides the best protection for your children and should be used on every ride.
- We know kids like to slouch or lean against the windows during the drive, but it makes a difference in terms of safety. Have your children sit upright when using seat belts.
Remember, child restraints are effective in preventing injury and death!