Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 Facts About Kids and Car Safety

Kids are the future of our nation, the bubble gum popping and bike riding youths of the new world.  Keeping them occupied in the back seat of a moving vehicle is difficult enough.  Today, in our weekly blog, we describe 5 facts about kids and car safety.  

1.) Most accidents happen near home: Most accidents occur on residential, rural roads that are local, during a routine trip to the grocery store or day-care center.  No matter what, always buckle your child into their seat, even if the drive is two minutes away.  "Always buckle your child up, no matter how near or far you're going," says Marilena Amoni, associate administrator for research and program development at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). "And never forget to use your own seat belt. Kids watch everything that you do, so it's important that you set the right example."

2.) Kids are at more risk than babies and toddlers: If your child is between 4 and 8 years old, they are more likely to be hurt in an accident than their smaller counterparts.  Most parents strap their infants into rear facing car seats, but only 20% of kids between 4 and 8 ride in booster seats as safety experts recommend. Some children even sit in the front seat before 13 years old.  Children are the safest in the backseat, putting them far away from the impact of a frontal crash.

3.) SUVs aren’t safer: It’s BIG, bad, and menacing, but SUVs are no safer than ordinary sedans.  They’re more likely to rollover.  The safest vehicles are low to the ground and larger (station wagons).

4.) A car does NOT have to move to be dangerous: Parked cars are also, surprisingly deadly.  As many as 220 children per year are killed in non-traffic auto accidents.  Some are strangled by a window when they’re leaning out, inadvertently leaning on the rocker-type power window switch.  Other children, when alone, release the emergency brake, setting the car in motion.  Finally, at least 30 kids die each year when their parents leave them in the car and they suffocate from overheating. "Children should never, ever be left alone in an automobile -- not even for a minute," says Terrill Struttmann, executive director of Kids in Cars, an education and advocacy organization he and his wife started after their 2-year-old son was killed by a car set in motion by two kids playing alone inside.

5.) Kids don’t need to be inside a car to be hurt by one:  nearly 400 children are killed each year when they’re hit by an automobile.  ALWAYS keep an eye on your little ones, no matter how many times you’ve warned them to stay out of the streets.  A survey conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide found that a majority of drivers speed in school zones, and that nearly a third violate stop signs in neighborhoods where there are kids.

Do you have any tips of your own?  Feel free to comment below: 

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