Over the past couple decades, engineers have been able to dramatically reduce the number of child fatalities in motor vehicle crashes thanks to new technologies. Public safety campaigns and more effective public policies have helped make our roads and highways safer, as well.
However, there are still plenty of other threats to children in and around motor vehicles—and many of them exist outside of normal traffic situations. These threats are especially prevalent in driveways and parking lots.
In a new study published in the Traffic Injury Prevention journal, researchers pinpointed the frequency of certain types of non-traffic injuries and fatalities to children by developing a unique surveillance system and database. KidsandCars.org, a nonprofit organization devoted to keeping children safe near motor vehicles, maintains the database. Some of the examples of non-traffic accidents identified in the research include back-overs, front-overs and children being left inside automobiles on hot days.
The study details the occurrence of these incidents with the assistance of the surveillance system and database. Previous studies were often limited to regional estimates, institutional information or small periods of time. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has produced summaries of non-traffic incidents that include child-specific data. This recent study is the first of its kind to include all types of non-traffic vehicular dangers to children without the limitations of the past.
Study offers better data on child injuries
The study tracked non-traffic injuries and fatalities between 1990 and 2014 to children from newborns to 14 years old. It used a variety of sources, such as individual accounts from victims and families, media reports, police reports, various publications and reports from medical examiners and coroners, child death review teams, medical professionals and attorneys. An analysis of these sources indicates an estimated 11,750 distinct incidents affecting 14,568 children, resulting in approximately 3,400 deaths. Of these deaths, the average age was 42 months.
The non-traffic incidents identified and analyzed in the report represent an “important and often underreported threat to the safety and lives of young children, and are completely preventable,” according to Dr. Mark Zonfrillo, the lead author of the study.
In years past, there had not been enough data for researchers to come to any solid conclusions about the dangers young children face in and around motor vehicles. Now, it is clearer than ever that additional education, engineering modifications, legislation and public safety advocacy are perhaps all needed to continue efforts to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities to kids.
If your child has been injured in a motor vehicle-related accident, speak with an experienced New York personal injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn right away. You may be able to seek compensation from a negligent party or an insurance company.