Parents are naturally driven to keep their children safe, especially in traffic. Injury, and even death from vehicle crashes is a concern around worldwide, and is the top cause of death for teens 15-17, the third most common cause for kids aged 10-14, and the 4th leading cause of death for kids between 5-9.
In order to reduce these numbers, it is important for all adults to do what they can to keep kids under their care safe. Here are some of the more common ways kids are injured on the road.
Head and Brain Injuries From Car accidents
Because children are smaller than adults, the injuries they suffer are sometimes different than the ones sustained by an adult. This is the case for many head and brain injuries, which are the most common type of injuries children sustained in a car accident. Specifically, the most common head injury is a laceration to the cerebellum. Seriousness of these injuries can range from minor to catastrophic.
In addition to cerebral lacerations and contusions, kids may also suffer from skull vault or base fractures, which can cause hearing and vision problems.
Chest and Rib Injuries
Kids can also be injured in their chest and rib areas, which can put their lungs in danger. Some rib injuries only result in soreness, but if a rib is broken in a child, it may puncture a lung, or even a large artery, including the aorta, and lead to internal bleeding.
If a child has suffered an injury in the abdomen, there is a chance of injury to various vital organs including the liver, kidneys, and intestines. Even the standard broken bones can be serious because of the potential for blood loss.
Whiplash Injuries Are Common Among Children
Whiplash happens when there is a sudden impact that very quickly moves a person’s head forward and back again with great force, resulting in injury and pain in the head, neck and shoulders. Even low speeds can cause significant injuries. It takes only a speed of 8 mph to double the force of the car and cause the head to be accelerated at five times the speed.
Whiplash is a common injury in road collisions for people of all ages, but child whiplash often leads to more serious harm. Young whiplash victims are also less likely to get the treatment they need because many caregivers are reluctant to use the same treatment and resources for their kids as they would use for themselves, including chiropractic care. And because kids are smaller, there is a greater chance that a child’s seatbelt will not protect them as well as it will for an adult.
Avoiding Traffic and Vehicle Injuries to Children
In order to prevent kids from getting injured on the road, parents and caregivers can start by teaching kids basic road safety skills, such as using sidewalks and crosswalks appropriately. When they are in the car, it is their caregiver’s responsibility to see that they are properly restrained in an approved type of car seat for their age and size, and one that is not on a current manufacturer recall list. Studies show that a majority of car seats are not properly installed or used incorrectly, resulting in more unnecessary injuries to kids.
Today’s car seats can be used for children up to 100 pounds or more, and many support a safer rear facing option until kids are 40-50 pounds. In many communities there is instruction and demonstration offered by local police and/or fire departments to assure that seats are being installed and used correctly.