Minimizing Accident Injuries: Should Your Kids Take the Back Seat?
New data shows that the back seat is no longer the safe position to ride in a car. A 2019 study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that back seat safety measures are nowadays substantially less advanced and efficient compared to front seat safety features. In addition to poorly developed seat belt technology and the absence of airbags for back seat users, the risk of severe injuries or fatalities during a crash while riding in the rear seat is significantly higher.
Limited Safety Technology in Rear Seats
According to the IIHS, seat belts in the rear seats of new vehicles don’t have advanced safety features like force limiters and crash tensioners. Most of the new vehicles lack front airbags, but some may have side airbags. The IIHS study indicates that rear-seat passengers have a 46% higher fatality risk than their front-seat counterparts.
Is the Rear Seat Still the Best Option for Kids
In an interview with The New York Times, a spokesperson of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said that front-seat passengers suffer most of the frontal crash force compared to the back-seat passengers. In simple terms, back-seat passengers have an advantage of distance over their front-seat counterparts.
Front seats are designed for riders age 12 and above. For this reason, babies should ride in rear-facing seats specifically designed for infants. As they mature, kids should move to forward-facing seats before switching to booster seats.
Minimizing Car Accident Injuries for Kids
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that car accidents account for the highest number of fatalities and injuries among kids in the U.S. Given that most car accidents are preventable, a great number of these fatalities and injuries are preventable as well. The following are practical tips for minimizing child car accident injuries:
Using A Car Seat At All Times
Car seats can significantly lower the risk of injury or fatality for kids during an accident. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), kids should use car seats until they are 4’9” tall. Parents looking to buy car seats for their kids should check out the NHTSA website for guidelines on getting the safest model and make.
Properly Installing the Car Seat
A parent should carefully read, understand, and follow the instructions manual during the seat installation process. Leaving the installation project to a knowledgeable mechanic is a wise decision, especially if the parent doubts his or her ability to get the job done correctly. Having the backward-facing seat tightly secured to the front is also a smart idea.
Strapping in the Kid Securely
The parent should also read and understand the instructions to strap in the child correctly. He or she should ensure all the latches are going to the right places and straps are secured as recommended. Before stepping behind the wheel, the parent should inspect all the latches and straps to ensure they are secure around the child.
Fastening the Seat Belts
After the child has matured enough to switch to the normal car seat, the parent should demount the booster seats. He or she should ensure the kid has attained the recommended height set for standard seat belts. The parent should also make sure that the seat belt is in good condition and the child fits well in the normal seat.
Pulling Over in the Event of a Distraction
Distracted driving is the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. Parents must so their best to resist the temptation of parenting while driving. If there is any distraction in the car, including children fighting or baby sliding out of the seat, the parent should pull over in a safe place and resolve the issues.
Taking the Appropriate Steps After A Child is Injured in An Accident
Even after adhering to all the safety rules and measures to protect children, accidents may still occur. In the event of an accident, a parent should take the right steps to ensure the kids are safe, obey the law, and commence the injury claim process.
The parent should start by checking himself or herself and the children for visible crash injuries, getting the car out of the road, and calling law enforcement officers, especially if no one has visible injuries. He or she should also exchange information with the other motorist, collect witness information, and document the scene of the accident. Seeing a doctor even if there are no visible injuries is advisable.
A Kingman car accident lawyer can collect all the necessary evidence, including surveillance footage, accident or police reports, and medical reports, which the parent requires to prove fault in the car accident claim. The lawyer can also determine the value of the case and carry out negotiations to help the parent recover the full extent of the damages.