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Study: Car Accidents Still Leader in Child Deaths, But Seatbelts Save Lives

Recent research published in the Journal of Pediatrics provides some eye-opening information on the rates of child deaths in auto accidents and the measures that can be used to prevent them.

According to studies performed by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the most common cause of death in children below the age of 15 is unintentional injury — and the leading cause of such injury is car accidents. From 2010 to 2014, there were 2,885 children who died from injuries suffered in auto accidents, or an average of 11 per week. That number does not even include pedestrians or children who died in bicycle or motorcycle crashes.

Many of the children who died in car accidents were not wearing seatbelts at the time. Approximately 43 percent were fully unrestrained or improperly restrained, another 15 percent were inappropriately sitting in the front seat and still another 13 percent were in vehicles in which the driver was intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. 

The focus on child restraints

Given this information, researchers focused their attention on the use of child restraints and seatbelts in vehicles. There were some significant variations in deaths from state to state.

For example, there were 0.29 deaths per 100,000 children in the state of New York, but 3.23 per 100,000 in Mississippi. In Mississippi, 56 of the 99 children who died were either not wearing seatbelts or not wearing them properly.

Other variables also played a role. For example, rural roads were far deadlier than city streets, with 67 percent of fatal accidents involving children on roads classified as rural.

Across all cases, however, researchers found that child restraints were an effective means of preventing injury and death.

For the guidance and advice you need as you take action after a serious injury to you or a loved one, consult a dedicated car accident lawyer with Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.