All parents want to keep their children safe from becoming hurt in a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately, many parents have misconceptions about how they can best protect their children from car accident injuries. For example, Parents.com indicates that parents often purchase Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) in order to try to protect young kids. However, SUVs may actually be more likely to roll-over and not any safer for kids. Instead, the safest family car may be a station wagon.
Parents need to understand the steps they can take that will actually have a measurable impact on protecting their kids. Unfortunately, even when parents do the right things, there is no sure way to stop a child from being hurt or killed in a crash.
If a driver is irresponsible and makes unsafe choices, he could take a child's life or could cause permanent injuries and become responsible for compensating a family for a lifetime of medical care for an injured child.
The single most important thing that parents need to do to try to protect infants and children from car accidents is to use car seats for infants and to use booster seats for children. Booster seats for kids should actually be used until a child is around eight years old. Many parents do not do this with older kids, which is why Parents.com says kids ages four to eight actually have a bigger risk of death in car accidents than infants and toddlers do.
For infants and toddlers, the use of car seats makes a dramatic impact on reducing the chance of a fatality when a crash happens. According to CBS, an infant in a car seat is 71 percent less likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident than if the infant is not properly secured in an infant seat. A toddler is 54 percent less likely to be killed in a car accident when properly secured.
Unfortunately, CBS also indicates that not all parents are able to secure kids properly in their car seats. Some parents don't follow the guidelines, while other try but may choose the wrong car seats or may not install the car seats correctly according to manufacturer guidelines.
Forbes reports that one study showed as many as 95 percent of parents put newborns into car seats incorrectly. Of the parents who made mistakes, most had multiple errors. Half of the families who made mistakes in car seat installation or child positioning had at least five errors. Of the families who made few mistakes or no mistakes, many had older children already.
Parents should ask for help with car seat installation. Many police and fire departments have special programs or offer car seat installation help for parents who visit the station. Parents should also strongly consider following recommendations to use a rear-facing car seat for infants, as these are generally considered to be the safest option for securing babies.