One child has died and three more were seriously injured recently in Taney County, where the Missouri State Highway Patrol reports the early evening crash was the result of a driver who lost control and over-corrected.
A 6-year-old boy was killed.
While a slight decline has been reported in recent years, there are still roughly 1,000 children each year killed in preventable traffic accidents. Far too many young lives are being lost, and more must be done to address the problem.
The CDC reports that according to research of federal traffic death data, some 9,200 children were killed in car accidents between 2002 and 2011.
Some lives are being saved due to more children being belted in, with 91 percent buckled up in 2011, versus the 88 percent who were strapped in when the study started in 2002.
One of the greatest areas of oversight appears to be with regard to older children. That is, caretakers may be diligent about buckling up babies or toddlers, but tend to get more relaxed about seatbelts as children age.
The CDC recommends that up until children reach the age of 2, they should be placed in a rear-facing car seat. After that point, they should be in a forward-facing car seat until they are about 5-years-old. Beyond that, they should use a booster seat until they reach 8-years-of-age or at such time that they can easily fit into an adult safety harness.
Among children who died in car accidents during the study, about one-third weren’t properly belted. The figure was even greater for minority children – approximately 45 percent for both black and Hispanic children (compared to 26 percent for white children).
The racial disparity was not fully explained by study authors, but they did theorize that perhaps socioeconomic factors may have played a role.
In Missouri, children are only required to be seated in a car or booster seat through the age of 7 and up to 80 pounds. However, the law makes exceptions for parents or other immediate family members who are transporting more children than there are safety belts.
Properly buckling your child up can reduce his or her risk of fatality by more than 50 percent, the CDC reports.
Still, our personal injury lawyers know full well that no matter how many precautions parents make, it won’t stop the drunk driver. It won’t hinder the teen who is texting behind the wheel. It won’t halt the trucker who is so fatigued he can barely keep his eyes open.
Ultimately, these are the people who should be held responsible when a child dies or suffers a life-altering injury as a result of a crash.
If your child has been injured or killed in a crash, contact the Missouri personal injury offices of Tolbert Beadle & Musgrave by calling (800) 887-4030 or visiting us online at www.tbmlaw.com.