Some good news from the Centers from Disease Control: the percentage of children age 12 or under killed in motor vehicle accidents has fallen by 43% between 2002 and 2011. The number of fatal car accidents has been declining over the past decade but still more can be done.
The unfortunate news is that during that same period, 9,000 children were killed. Many of these deaths could have been prevented because a significant number of the children killed were not buckled up in appropriate child restraints such as car seats, booster seats or car seat belts.
Educating parents may be a very important factor in reducing child car accident deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 45% of the black children , 46% of the Hispanic children and 26% of white children killed in car accidents between 2009 and 2010 were not restrained.
Parents and caregivers can protect children by making sure that children are not only restrained but in an age appropriate restraint.
- Birth to 2 years of age: rear-facing car seat
- 2 to at least 5 years of age: forward-facing car seat
- 5 years of age up: booster seat until the child outgrows it
- Seat belts can be used once a child has grown so it fits appropriately with the seat belt corossing the upper things and the shoulder belt across the chest
- All children under the age of 12 should ride in the rear seat.
Parents and caregivers should take the time to buckle their children up no matter how short the trip.
Washington state seat belt legislation
In Washington state, the legislature has made the seat belt law, RCW 46.61.688, a primary offense, meaning that law enforcement can stop a driver and cite them a violation if he or she observes a child not buckled up.
Washington enacted seat belt legislation in June of 1986 and imposes a $124 fine for failing to abide by the law. Washington has one of the highest percentage of compliance with seatbelt laws at 97.6%.
In Washington, children are required to be restrained in a child safety seat until age 8 or until they are at least 4’9″ tall. In addition, all children under the age of 13 should be in the rear seat if practical.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by the negligence of another.