It is a statistical truth that when properly installed and used, child restraints - car seats, booster seats and child safety belts - save lives. It is estimated that nearly 1,000 children under age 14 die in car accidents each year, and that a child using a safety seat is 80 percent more likely to survive a crash, according to Safe Kids USA.
That is why our North Carolina car accident attorneys support the efforts of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's annual Child Passenger Safety Week and provide links to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's best booster ranking system. Together these websites provide a clearinghouse of information - including a link to finding a local child safety seat inspection station - for North Carolina parents and caregivers who transport kids.
As part of their annual awareness campaign, the NHTSA highlights six common dangers facing kids and cars:
~ Heatstroke: Children's smaller bodies heat up faster and they are less able to produce sweat to help them cool down. Even with the windows open and on a seemingly cool day, the interior of a car can reach dangerously high temperatures in just 10 minutes.
~ Backovers: If you have kids or they live within walking distance of your home or work, glancing in your rear-view mirror is not enough. To avoid a backover accident, physically check behind you car before backing up.
~ Power windows: Children can intentionally or accidentally raise the windows, thus closing themselves off from fresh air in a vehicle that can quickly reach sweltering temperatures. They can also get their head, neck or torso stuck in a closing window.
~ Trunk entrapments: Trunks get hot fast and offer very little ventilation. Your best bet is to keep your car locked and to teach kids a car is not a toy.
~ Vehicle rollaway: It can happen in an instant. A kid left alone in a car - seat belted or not - can easily bump the shift gear and knock the car out of park, setting the vehicle in motion. Even at a slow rate of speed this can cause a potentially deadly accident.
~ Seat belt entanglement: Retractable and non-retractable seat belts are important life-saving devices, but they can also be a hazard. Like any cord or strap, a seat belt can get wrapped around a child's neck or waist and cut-off blood supply or oxygen.
North Carolina car accident lawyers with Lee & Smith know that being involved in a serious or fatal car accident, or losing a loved one to a fatal car crash, can be among the most trying times in your life. We hope that if you are involved in a serious car accident you will call us at 1-800-887-1965 or email our law offices to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights. We fight for the rights of accident victims throughout North and South Carolina, including Albemarle, Asheboro, Asheville, Burlington, Charlotte and Concord.