A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded that the number of children who died in crashes over the past decade has dropped by 43%. This decline was driven by the increased use of car seats and booster seats, according to health officials. The data shows that one-third of the children 12 and under who died in 2011 were not buckled up.  

The CDC study examined data for the years 2002 through 2011, focusing on crash deaths of children 12 and under, a period of time during which traffic fatalities overall declined to levels not seen since the 1940s. Historically, young children have represented a very small fraction of total traffic deaths. For example, children accounted for 650 of the 21,000 deaths of drivers and passengers in 2011. The reason for this heartening statistic is probably obvious: children aren’t going out drinking, and they’re not typically out at night. Teens and young adults account for the largest share of traffic deaths, according to Jonathan Adkins, deputy director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. The study revealed that there is a disparity in how well the “buckle up your child” campaigns have worked, which may be related to income. Car seats can run well over $100 and can be challenging to install. Larger proportions of impoverished families may not have the money to purchase a car seat, or may need help  installing the seat.

The study did not provide an answer to why the death of younger children has declined, because the CDC did not design it to answer that question. Health experts credit a large growth in state laws requiring car seats and booster seats, and in programs that promote buckling kids up, for the decline in this terrible statistic. Federal and state officials urge parents to keep all children 12 and under in the backseat, and use car seats and booster seats until seatbelts fit properly. These experts also recommend that car seats should face the rear up to age 2.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident or any other negligent act, Stark & Stark attorneys can help you. Contact Stark & Stark at 1-800-535-3425 or online at starkinjurygroup.com.