Kentucky Car Accidents Causing Injury to Child Passengers

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While many parents recognize the danger posed to kids who are involved in collisions in motor vehicles on the streets of Louisville and highways throughout Kentucky, they may be unaware that motor vehicle crashes constitute the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  While the risk and severity of auto collision-related injuries to children can be reduced by using proper restraints, many child safety restraints provide limited protection due to a poor fit or improper installation.  Because parents generally regard the safety of their children as a top priority, our Louisville child passenger injury attorneys at Murphy and Powell PLC have provided answers to frequently asked questions about child passenger injury claims. How serious a risk do auto collisions pose for children? Approximately a quarter of a million children and teens per year suffer injury in auto collisions while about 1,400 more children under the age of 15 die in motor vehicle crashes.  Many of these injuries and deaths could be prevented by proper use of safety restraint systems.  In 2012, there were 26 children age 15 and under who died in auto accidents on Kentucky streets and highways. The CDC reports that over a half a million kids travel as passengers in vehicles while not secured in a safety restraint system at least during some excursions.  In other cases, parents may be lulled into a false sense of security when using a defective car seat or a child safety restraint that is incompatible with the seats of a vehicle. What are the most common causes of car crashes that inflict injuries on children? The most common risk factors that contribute to injuries involving children in auto accidents include:
  • DUI/DWI
  • Violation of speed limits
  • Multi-tasking with a portable electronic device or other distractions
  • Following at an unsafe distance
  • Not looking before executing a lane change
  • Failure to yield
  • Aggressive driving
  • Drowsy driving
Although this is far from a comprehensive list of causes of collisions involving children, these are some of the causes that account for a high proportion of child motor vehicle injuries and fatalities. What Kentucky laws are designed to reduce injury to child passengers? Kentucky’s child safety restraint and booster seat law requires that all drivers secure children forty inches or less in a child safety seat that complies with federal law.  Kids under the age of seven who are between the ages of 40-50 inches must be secured in a booster seat rather than just a seat belt.  Children must be placed in a rear facing car seat until they have reached the age of one year and at least twenty pounds in weight.  Many manufacturers of convertible car seats recommend that they be used in the rear facing position until the child has reached a specified rear facing weight. Do car seats and booster seats really make much of a difference during a car accident? According to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child car seats are 71 percent effective in protecting babies from fatal injury and 54 percent effective in preventing the death of toddlers aged one to four in passenger car collisions.  When kids are fastened into booster seats, they decrease the likelihood of injury by sixty percent as compared to using only a seat belt. How significant a factor is improper car seat installation as a cause of more severe injuries to children in crashes? The impact of improper child safety restraint and booster seat installation and incompatibility is reflected by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics indicating ninety percent of all child safety restraints are improperly installed. Do booster seats for non-infants have a significant impact on child passenger safety? Booster seats raise the child up in the seat of a vehicle so that seat belts built for adults provide a more appropriate fit for kids.  When the seat belt does not fit properly, it may cause the lap belt to rise up above the stomach and the shoulder belt to cut into the neck of the child.  This improper fit can cause severe neck and abdominal injuries.  The Partners for Child Passenger Safety report that more than ninety percent of kids that are age 4 to 8 who suffer severe injury during a motor vehicle collision are not restrained in booster seats. If your infant or child is injured in a Kentucky car crash, our experienced Louisville child passenger injury attorneys at the Bruce Law Group can answer your questions and explain your rights.  We offer a free consultation so call us today at (502) 489-8887 or contact us via email.