Key Points of This Article:
- September is Child Passenger Safety Month, and September 20-26 is Child Passenger Safety Week.
- In the United States, crashes continue to be the No. 1 cause of death for teens. And about 700 children ages 12 years and younger die as occupants in motor vehicle crashes each year, and more than 128,000 are injured.
- Many children who survive a crash require rehabilitation for serious head injuries, back and neck injuries, and other disabilities because their muscles, bones, and body, are still developing.
- Since 2017, Michigan has received mediocre-to-low rankings by the National Safety Council for work in preventing road injuries and fatalities related to child passengers and seat belt usage.
How To Identify Child Passenger Car Accident Injuries
September is Child Passenger Safety Month as motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death and injury for American children. The awareness campaign offers an important opportunity for Michiganders to educate themselves on the issue as September 20-26 has been designated as Child Passenger Safety Week. Michigan repeatedly receives low check marks by the National Safety Council for preventing child passenger road injuries and promoting seat belt usage. Michigan isn’t alone, though. As many as 700 U.S. children ages 12 years and younger die as occupants in motor vehicle crashes each year, and more than 128,000 will be injured. For the children who survive a motor vehicle crash, injuries can range from life-threatening to long-term debilitating, both physically and emotionally.
When a child is injured in a motor vehicle accident, they are at risk of:
- airbag injuries
- head and neck injuries
- traumatic brain injuries
- car seat injuries
- glass injuries to the face
- chest injuries
- fractures to the wrist, hand, foot, pelvis, femurs, and arms
- whiplash Injuries
- incapacitation injuries to the spinal cord, limbs, and nerves
- psychological difficulties and changes in social behaviors
- ongoing learning disruptions
- pain and suffering
Children are naturally most prone to head injuries, back and neck injuries, and rib injuries because their muscles, bones, and bodies are still growing and developing.
How to Identify Injuries in Your Child After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Suppose your child is in a car accident. In that case, you should seek medical attention immediately if not at the scene. Visit a local emergency room or urgent care for an assessment, and follow-up with any treatment plans and recommendations for recovery. Infants and toddlers may not be able to recognize or communicate discomfort related to painful motor vehicle accident injuries, so receiving prompt medical evaluations will detect any injuries you may not be able to notice. The evaluation and medical tests ordered can also create a path to recovery and help build your car accident injury case.
Young children suffering from an injury after a car accident may display one or more of these most common signs and symptoms, as identified by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- excessive vomiting or diarrhea
- crying excessively and frequently
- more than usual irritability
- listless or limp limbs
- bruising or swelling
- unable to speak or make sounds
- seizure or convulsions
- changes in appearance
- changes in eating habits (including refusing to breastfeed or take a bottle)
- sleep disruptions
- bulging of the soft spot on their head
- screaming during diaper changes or while removing clothing
- fast or labored breathing
After an initial post-accident medical exam, if you notice any mood or behavioral changes or changes in your child’s health, call for an exam or emergency services. Injuries may present days to weeks beyond a car or truck accident.
Car Seats and Seat Belts Save Lives, Please Use Them
Astonishing that just less than half of all children killed in crashes each year are not buckled or using the appropriate car seat. According to the NHTSA, when used correctly, child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%. So, it is recommended to keep children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight limit allowed by the particular seat.
Here are a few extra steps Michigan parents and caregivers can take to help you through the process of finding the right car seat, installing it correctly, and keeping your child safe.
- Find the right car seat for your child’s age, weight, and height and compare ratings and reviews.
- After you purchase your seat, register it for recall notices and safety updates.
- Install your car seat correctly using the detailed instructions and videos.
- Get your car seat inspected by a certified child passenger safety technician.
For older children who wear seatbelts, make sure the lap belt does not rest on their stomach and fits comfortably across the thighs. And please do your best to remind your child to sit up and not slouch, and to never position a shoulder strap beneath their arm, back, or across their neck.
If you are looking for help in preparing your teen driver, we have several articles here.
Free Child Passenger Resources for Michigan Families
There are many virtual and free-of-charge options related to child passenger safety for Michigan parents and caregivers who might need extra help.
- Watch Expert Videos and Online Classes. Safe Kids Worldwide has produced expert videos with certified technicians showing the proper use and choice of car seats.
- Safe Kids Michigan. Due to COVID-19, Safe Kids coalitions and state-certified child passenger safety technicians (CPSTs) have adjusted the way they provide CPS education. Locate a Safe Kids coalition group in Michigan to learn your options. Coalitions are located in:
- Hillside St. Joseph’s Counties
- Greater Grand Rapids
- Kalamazoo County
- Mid Michigan
- Oakland County
- Capital Area
- Greater South Haven
- Huron Valley
- Metro Detroit
- West Michigan
- Greater Flint
- Greater Thumb and Saginaw County
- Macomb County
- North Shore
- Check out the Ultimate Car Seat Guide Interactive Tool. This online tool provides expert guidance to parents on everything from how to fit a child into a car seat to know when it is time to move to a new seat.
Making a personal injury claim for a child can leave parents upset, frustrated, and heartbroken. Working with a Michigan car accident lawyer who is not only experienced in winning cases, but one who also cares about your child’s recovery is the best person to help your family pursue justice and the compensation deserved.
Contact a Michigan Car Accident Child Injury Attorney
Car accident injuries can result in permanent, irreversible damage to children. If another driver’s negligence caused injuries to your young child passenger, or a car accident has left them injured and emotionally suffering, please call 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). We can answer any questions you may have and get started helping your family today. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your case.
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