Traffic related fatalities of children aged 14 and under has declined significantly over the past 20 years. Legislation, education, improved safety features in cars and for child safety restraint systems, and aggressive public safety campaigns have helped save the lives of thousands of children. That is the good news. The bad news is that a startling number of children are fatally injured each year in non-traffic related car accidents occurring in driveways and parking lots across the country.
According to a recent study conducted at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Rhode Island, 3,400 children under the age of 14 have been fatally injured and nearly 15,000 more injured in non-traffic incidents involving automobiles since 1990. Researchers for the study reported 11,750 incidents during that time.
Types of Accidents
The most common types of non-traffic car accident injuries and fatalities include back-over and front-over incidents. Children have suffered catastrophic injuries and worse when they are run over in driveways or parking lots by inattentive drivers. Children playing inside of a vehicle have also inadvertently knocked it into gear and run over other children as the vehicle rolled backward or lunged forward.
Another common threat to children that has been featured far too often in recent news reports are incidents involving heatstroke to children inadvertently left in cars. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach into triple digits in just an hour, quickly leading to fatal heatstroke.
Moreover, electronic mechanisms such as power windows can cause strangulation when hoods, scarves, or clothing become caught when children are left unattended. Multiple incidents involving trunk entrapments have also been reported. Children playing in open trunks, or those who become entrapped when crawling through small openings leading from the back seat of a vehicle into a trunk, can suffocate from lack of oxygen and high temperatures.
Study Calls for Education and Engineering to Help Reduce the Number of Non-Traffic Car Accidents
Researchers involved in the Brown University study are calling for increased education to alert parents and adults of the dangers of non-traffic car accidents. Parents and caregivers need to be aware of the risks to children when they are in or around cars and trucks. Close supervision and awareness of these risks can help reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities.
The study also emphasizes the need for engineers to continue to develop technology and car safety features that can help keep children safe around cars. Back-up alarms and cameras are a great start to making children visible to drivers, but further development on locking mechanisms and electronic controls are needed to enhance child safety.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims Injured in Car Accidents
If you or someone you know has been injured or lost in a traffic-related or non-traffic car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 866-881-8623, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. With six office locations in South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.