Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, designate one week in September as Child Passenger Safety Week. This year, September 13 through September 19 will bear that designation in an effort to increase public awareness of the issues surrounding the safety of those young people who travel in vehicles.
Issues surrounding the safety of minor passengers in vehicles in Chicago are different than those that apply to adults for a couple of reasons. First, cars are not built with children in mind and that makes children more prone to injuries if a collision occurs. Safety features like air bags can actually do more harm than good to a child and adults should be aware of this prior to placing any small child in a car. Secondly, the safety of a child is dependent upon the actions of an adult. A typical driver can control his or her choices to drive safely, operate without distraction, and to proceed with caution while behind the wheel but a passenger – particularly a young child – does not have that luxury. Not only is a child at the mercy of a driver’s ability to operate a car but that child is also dependent upon an adult to select an appropriate car seat and make sure the child is restrained in it properly.
The children of Chicago are the future of Chicago and as a result, their safety should be important to each and every citizen that calls this city home. Further, even if you do not have children of your own, it is possible that you will be involved in a collision that includes children and your actions – or inactions – may directly lead to their safety.
Tragically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that about 345 children under the age of 13 were injured ever day in 2013 in traffic collisions and that another two children lost their lives in those car accidents across the country. Not only were the lives of those young victims affected but so were the lives of their parents, siblings, extended family members, loved ones, friends, classmates, and neighbors, illustrating just how wide of a reach a car accident involving children may have.
Many cities are recognizing Child Passenger Safety Week with initiatives of their own that range from fun activities for kids to educational material for adults. Notably, Saturday, September 19, 2015 is National Seat Check Saturday, an event that will be recognized by many of the neighborhoods in the Chicago area as well as numerous suburbs. While many fire stations, police departments, and other safety organizations regularly check the installation and safety of child seats in cars, it is likely that more entities will be available with longer hours and more convenient locations for parents on September 19th so make sure you check with your local area to determine what options exist for you.
In a 2011 study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that an astonishing 46 percent of all car seats checked were installed incorrectly. Most of the mistakes were minor and were easily rectified but those minor mistakes can make a difference between life and death for a child if they are not corrected. If you have a child who utilizes a car seat, convertible seat, or a booster, make sure that your seat is installed properly and that your child is in the proper seat for his or her age and size.
No parent should have to experience the anguish that accompanies the injuries that may happen to their child if she is involved in a collision. If you have and your child was hurt, make sure that you know what options are available to you and whether your family is entitled to financial compensation for the damages that were done.
If you have questions, know that the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. are standing by 24/7 to take your call toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 where we offer all injury victims a free, no-obligation case consultation. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we have helped countless children obtain the relief that they deserve following a collision and if your child has suffered, we want to help her as well. Call us now or contact us online for a free consultation regarding your child’s accident and your family’s rights.
Prior Blog Entry:
Police Looking for Driver in Fatal Hit-and-Run Car Accident, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published August 31, 2015.