Child Traffic Deaths Fall 43 Percent In Decade

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Photo from Joey Newcombe

Good news in the child safety department as a new report has revealed that children are dying less often in traffic accidents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of child fatalities as a result of traffic accidents dropped by 43 percent over a 10-year period.

Increased safety vigilance on the part of parents was credited for the decline, with health officials stating that increased use of car seats and booster seats caused much of the decline. Approximately one third of 2011 child casualties, aged 12 and under, were not buckled up.

“The first step is buckling up. Every child, of every age, on every trip,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC.

The range studied by the CDC was from 2002 through 2011. The final tally pinpointed during that time is the lowest point for child fatalities since the 1940s, when owning a car was still considered a luxury, as opposed to today, when many who qualify as poverty-level own some type of vehicle.

Child fatalities are a bit of a rarity to begin with since kids aren’t the ones spending the most time in the car. To put it in perspective, CDC notes, during the last year of the study, children accounted for only 650 of the 21,000 combined deaths of drivers and passengers. The preliminary figures for 2012, quoted by the organization, indicate another fall to 637.

“Children aren’t going drinking, and they’re not typically out at night,” explained Jonathan Adkins, deputy director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “Teens and young adults account for the largest share of deaths.”

CDC did not set out to identify the reasons behind the steep decline reported, but there is some evidence that state laws were more protective of children during the time of the study, with many jurisdictions dictating mandatory use of car and booster seats. There are also a variety of programs that promote buckling up for safety, many of which are sponsored and promoted by the nation’s largest insurers.

Auto insurance companies are often able to guide their clients as well in the purchase of a reliable car seat and other child safety driving tips, particularly when families welcome new children.

As a final recommendation, the CDC urged parents to use the back seat for safely transporting all children under the age of 12, and to keep seats facing the rear of the vehicle until age two.

Ideally, parents will continue using car or booster seats until the standard seat belt fits the child properly.


In Summary

There’s a lot of good to be said regarding the safety improvements detailed in today’s report, but the statistics also show there were more than 600 children who lost their lives that shouldn’t have. The power of education is undeniable when you consider the 43 percent drop, but the discovery also revealed there’s a little further to go before the number falls to zero. The insurance industry is in a key position to promote parental education, simply in the access they have to drivers. If you have clients with children under the age of 12, consider speaking to them about what they can do to reduce the risks and protect their children.

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