A tragic crash in Oklahoma recently left a woman dead and an infant in critical condition. According to Fox 25 Oklahoma City, a 19-year-old was walking with a 10-month old baby when they were hit by a car that veered off the road. The woman died and the baby had to be taken by helicopter to the hospital in critical condition.
Unfortunately, babies and young children suffer from injuries or are killed in accidents with cars far too frequently. Parents.com reports 240,000 kids are hurt and 1,700 kids are killed annually because of motor vehicle collisions. Parents can take steps to try to reduce the chances their infant or toddler will be injured or die in a car accident, but unfortunately many parents are not successful in the steps they take to try to protect their children.
The use of a car seat for an infant and a booster seat for a toddler is the single most important thing parents can do to hopefully save their child's life if a car accident happens. An infant in a car seat is 71 percent less likely to be killed and a toddler properly secured in a booster seat is 54 percent less likely to be killed in a car accident, according to CBS.
Most parents are good about using car seats with younger kids, but become lax as kids get older. Booster seats are actually recommended in most cases until a child is as old as eight, but parents of older kids usually stop being vigilant. This results in higher death rates for children aged four to eight than for infants, according to Parents.com.
Parents also make mistakes when they try to use car seats to keep infants and toddlers safe. Forbes reported on a study of new parents using car seats with newborn babies. Of the parents included in the study, 95 percent of parents made mistakes when using a car seat. They made errors both in how the seat was installed in the car and how the infant was positioned.
Parents who made errors in car seat use didn't just make minor little errors either. About half of the parents who made mistakes had at least five errors in the process of installing the car seat or positioning the child. It was parents of older kids who performed best. Parents can get help putting car seats into a car at police and fire stations, who often organize special events or who will install car seats for parents who stop by and ask for help.
Unfortunately, Parents.com also indicates that parents often buy the wrong cars as well. Parents frequently buy SUVs to protect children, but SUVs have a higher risk of rollover that could endanger children. A station wagon would be safer.
Even if parents have the right car and use their car seat appropriately, there are still no guarantees. It is up to drivers to make safe choices and avoid accidents so children can stay safe from harm.