Every traffic fatality is tragic. When the victim is a child, the tragedy is compounded. Many child deaths could have been prevented had adults acted responsibly. Despite the frequent news reports about child car accident fatalities, children continue to die in motor vehicle accidents at alarming rates.
Nevada law requires front and rear-seat passengers in automobiles to wear seat belts or ride in an age-appropriate child restraint system.
Latest Statistics and Facts About Child Deaths in Car Accidents
According to the Nevada Department of Transportation, three children aged 13 or younger died in car accidents statewide in a recent year, accounting for about 1.1 percent of traffic fatalities in the state. Moreover, 17 were killed in a recent five-year time period. The majority of the fatal crashes took place in Clark County.
These figures, while alarming, don’t illustrate the full scope of the problem. Here are more statistics about child car accident fatalities in Nevada and nationwide:
- The Nevada Department of Transportationnoted that over a five-year period, five children who died in car accidents were using a lap belt and shoulder belt when the crash occurred. A standard lap and shoulder belt restraint system is not always the safest choice for children, depending on their size. Using the wrong restraint system is a common factor in many fatalities.
- The Nevada DOT also noted that in that same five-year period, four children who died in car accidents were not secured in any restraint system when the crash occurred. Children should always be secured in a proper restraint system when riding in a car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued guidelines on which style of car seat is right for your child.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) report that car accidents caused 607 deaths nationwide among passengers 12 and younger in a recent year. Another 63,000 children suffered non-fatal injuries in car accidents.
- The CDC noted that about 38 percent of those children were not secured with any type of seat belt at the time.
- Children in rural areas are more likely to die in car accidents than children in urban areas, according to the CDC. In a recent five-year period, there were about 4.5 child car accident deaths for every 100,000 people in rural counties, compared with about 0.9 deaths for every 100,000 people in urban counties.
- In a recent year, about 24 percent of deaths involving passengers ages 14 and younger involved a drunk driver, according to the CDC.
- Driver seat-belt use rates seem to correlate with better seat-belt use among child passengers. In one recent year, about 65 percent of passengers ages 14 and younger killed in car accidents were unbuckled and riding with an unbuckled driver. By comparison, 32 percent of passengers ages 14 and younger killed in car accidents were unbuckled and riding with a buckled driver.
Factors Leading to Child Fatalities in Car Accidents
Some of the factors that lead to child fatalities in car accidents include:
- Parents leaving children unbuckled– Everyone should wear an appropriate safety belt or restraint while in a moving vehicle. Children are at particular risk of serious injury in a collision. In a crash situation, an unbuckled child might be thrown into the side of the car, the seat in front of them, another occupant, or an untethered object in the cabin.
- Children being secured in the wrong car seat– Putting a young child in a car seat isn’t enough to protect them in a crash. Choosing the wrong car seat or restraining device for your child could prove to be a deadly mistake. Follow NHTSA guidelines as you select the proper fitting safety seat for your child.
- Parents not getting car seats inspected– Parents should have a certified technician inspect a car seat before they put a child in it. If the seat has a defect or has already been through a crash, it is not safe for your child. The NHTSA has a tool for helping parents find car seat inspectors near them here.
- Drunk drivers– Intoxicated drivers are less likely to make sure child passengers are properly secured in a vehicle, putting a child at greater risk of injuries in a crash. Drunk drivers are more likely to speed or engage in other aggressive behavior that can cause a fatal crash.
Nevada Child Restraint Laws
According to the Nevada DMV, any child passenger who is younger than 6 and is less than 57 inches tall must be placed in an approved child restraint system that is appropriate for their age and size. Children under 2 must ride in a rear-facing safety seat in the back of the vehicle.
Motor Vehicle Safety Tips for Children
Here are a few safety tips to keep your child safe while driving:
- Never drink and drive with a child passenger.
- Choose a restraint system appropriate for your child’s age and size. Consult the NHTSA for more information.
- Make sure you buckle your child in their seat before you get in the driver’s seat.
- Avoid speeding, weaving through traffic, tailgating, and other driving behaviors that make an accident more probable.
- Always get a car seat inspected before you use it, and never buy a used car seat.
Still, no amount of preparation on your part can make other drivers behave responsibly. If the unthinkable happens and your child is injured in a car accident that someone else caused in Clark County, an experienced Las Vegas attorney can help you demand justice and accountability.
Did Your Child Sustain Injuries in a Car Accident? Contact an Attorney Now
Children sometimes sustain injuries in car accidents despite our best efforts. If your child suffered injuries in an accident that another driver caused, you have the right to demand full compensation for your child’s medical bills and other expenses. Let the compassionate and experienced Las Vegas child injury attorneys with Sam & Ash Injury Law help you pursue justice for your child. Contact us today for a free consultation.