Car accident injuries are the leading cause of death for children between age 1 and 14 in Australia. While the number of road deaths has recently been declining, the number of motor vehicle crash-related injuries in children has not declined, according to. The Western Australian Childhood Injury Surveillance System. Parents can act to help protect their children from motor vehicle crash injuries.
Know the Rules About Restraints
Every child should be buckled up in the safety seat or with seatbelts as appropriate to their age. The law requires:
- From birth to 6 months, children are to be secured in a rear-facing car seat with an inbuilt harness and not sitting in the first row of the vehicle.
- From six months until 4 years, they are to be secured in a rear or forward-facing car seat with an inbuilt harness and may not sit in the first row.
- From age 4 until age 7, they must sit either in a forward-facing car seat or booster seat and may sit in the front row only if all the spots in the second and subsequent rows are filled with younger children.
- Depending on size, children older than 7 will use either a children’s seat belt or adult seat belt.
While these are minimum guidelines, RaisingChildren.net recommends keeping your child in a restraint or booster seat for as long as possible. Also, restraints or seats must meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1754.
Learn Proper Technique for Buckling Up
Having a car seat or booster seat isn’t enough to protect children; it must be installed and buckled up properly. One way to do this is to have the restraint seat installed at a local fitting service. If the seat must be moved, parents should follow the manufacturer’s directions and check the car’s manual for anchorage points.
Buckle up on every trip, regardless of length.
Set a Good Example
If adults buckle up, older children will buckle up, too. Likewise, if adults don’t use their seatbelts, their children are unlikely to develop the habit.
Most car crashes are caused by a minor mistake, such as distracted driving. Children often can bring distractions. To lessen distractions:
- feed children before they get in the car
- bringing DVDs or other entertainment
- take frequent breaks
- Pull to the side of the road first before attending to children
Avoid Driving When Fatigued
Tired driving is unsafe driving. Sleep well the night before a trip and share the driving with another adult on long trips. If you experience symptoms of fatigue while driving such as yawning, stiffness and cramps, sore eyes, or speeds creeping up or down, find a place to pull over and rest.
Sometimes even if those who do everything right are involved in car accidents. If you are involved in a crash, Foyle Legal compensation lawyers can ensure that your settlement includes enough money to help you and your children receive all the treatment you need.