Deaths of children under the age of 12 in car crashes fell by 43% from 2002 to 2011, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the numbers are declining significantly, automobile crashes remain a leading cause of death among children. The biggest takeaway from the report is that many of these deaths would have been avoided if the children had been properly buckled into an appropriate child safety seat that matched their age and size.
Over 9,000 children aged 12 and under died in car crashes during the ten year period studied. In 2011, a full one-third of the children killed were not properly buckled up. While the numbers are getting better, there remains a disturbing trend. Parents do a better job with younger children than they do with their slightly older ones. Of those who died in 2011, 45% of the 8-12 year olds were not buckled up, compared to one-third of children ages 1 to 7 and only one-quarter a year and under.
Whether it is complacency or a false sense of security, or concluding that the child seat battle is one to let the kid win, the numbers clearly show that skimping on child safety and properly securing kids in cars has catastrophic consequences. Please remember that children should ride in the back seat until age 12. And they should ride in a child safety seat appropriate for their age, height and weight.
By Dev Sethi