Child Injury Prevention – By Airbags
“Shot gun! I’m sitting in the front.”
It’s a common summer scenario. You’re getting ready to go away for a few days with the kids. The car is piled sky high with clothes and skateboards and food. Fall and back to school will be here soon. Everyone is in high spirits and excited about a few days away.
Sometimes a teenager yells it.Sometimes it’s your 7 year old saying “Hey its my turn. I never get a chance.” Maybe sitting in the front seat has some kind of intrinsic cool factor.
What ever you do resist a younger child’s pleading wish to sit in the front seat.Thousands of children are hurt or killed in car crashes each year.
In 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that child safety seats minimized risk of death by 54% for children one to four years of age and by 71% for infants. The study further showed that when booster seats were used in conjunction with properly fitting lap and shoulder seat belts, the possibility of the child being injured was 59% less than for children wearing seat belts only.
Why is it so dangerous for kids to ride in the front seat?
Passenger air bags were created to keep occupants safe in the event of a car accident. Upon impact an airbag will burst out of the dash with speeds between 145 to 200 miles per hour. The speed and power of impact against a small body can be fatal. Children under age 13 are safer in the back seat with proper safety seats and belts.
Adults are not immune
The force and speed of airbag deployment during a car crash can result in in physical harm as minor as superficial cuts and scrapes to life altering disabling injuries and in some cases death.
There is no perfect fit
Airbags do their best to protect people of all sizes and shapes. Obviously it’s impossible to be all things to all people. Because of where the force of the airbag will hit them, airbags best serve an average size man and people closest to that size and height. A person this size is more able than a child to withstand the speed and force of the airbag on impact.
Where should kids sit?
Children younger than 13 years of age are safest in the back seat. Transport Canada reports that for infants and children up to 22 pounds a rear facing child seat is safest. When your child outgrows the rear facing safety seat, the next step is a forward facing seat. Even though your toddler may push for a more grown up booster seat, the forward facing child seat offers more safety and support for his small body. When the child outgrows the manufacturer’s recommended size and weight for the forward facing car seat it’s time to move him to a booster seat. In order to protect the child, booster seats, like all child safety seats must be installed and fitted properly with adaptable head guards. Older children and adults in the back seat should use a properly fitting lap and shoulder seat belt
In spite of airbags, seat belts, safety devices and our best intentions accidents and injuries sometimes happen. Air bags do a good job of protecting us from a lot of serious injuries. The possibility of injury exists whether or not we use an airbag. Airbags can be the direct reason for the injuries their purpose is to protect us from. Airbags are not designed for infants and children. A child traveling in the front seat when an airbag deploys is at high risk for fatal or serious injury. The safest place for a child is in a child safety seat or booster seat, properly installed and fitted in the back seat.
For detailed information on installation and fitting of child safety seats see Transport Canada’s website.
About The Kahler Personal Injury Law Firm
The Kahler Personal Injury Law Firm, specializes in car accident injury claims and litigation including those where children have been injured by an airbag. Our lawyers continuously work to promote safety on our roadways.