Child Accidents Raise Concern Over Automobile Safety

According to a global study performed by the World Health Organization and Unicef, it has been found that around the globe, accidents kill 830,000 children each year.  Over all, although 95 percent of all injuries to children occur in poor and middle-income countries, injuries account for 40 percent of all child deaths in rich ones – Including the United States.

Dr. Étienne Krug, director of injuries and violence prevention at the World Health Organization, believes this is because wealthier nations tend to not have much better child health care, but do not attempt to remedy the causes of childhood accidents.  In a recent article in the New York Times, Dr. Krug was quoted saying, “This is a huge public health problem, and it’s been ignored for a long time.  It’s a combination of ignorance about how big it is, and because of fatalism, of thinking, ‘Oh, it’s an accident, we can’t do anything about it.’ ”

The Center for Disease control reports that in the United States, accidents kill 12,175 children a year.   That is more than all diseases combined.  At the center of this statistic lies a fact, which many American law makers already know, but choose to ignore.  Automobile accidents claim the lives of many infants and toddlers, however by the time children reach their teenage years, automobile accidents instantaneously become the leading cause of death. 

In a New York Times article, Ileana Arias, The Center for Disease control’s chief of injury prevention, reports that the three changes that would save the most lives of American children would be for more states to pass “graduated driver’s license” laws, which forbid teenagers to drive at night or with teenage passengers, to enforce seat-belt laws on teenagers and to make all children younger than 8 ride in booster seats.

Currently however, these suggestions do not carry the power of the law.  They are however the best solution to an epidemic problem.  As Ms. Arias recommends, please keep your child in a booster seat until they reach the age of eight.  If you have a teenage driver, remember that they more than likely don’t share your priorities and equal judgment when it comes to driving.  Please talk to your teenagers often enough about the importance of the seatbelt, and the effects of distracted driving. 

If you or someone you know has been seriously hurt in an accident, please contact an attorney immediately. 

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