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Car Accidents A Leading Cause of Injuries to Minors and Children

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, car accidents are the leading cause of accidental, injury-related deaths that affect children. The same source reports that children who are not wearing a seat belt are most likely to be injured or to die in a car crash. Children and minors, because of their small size, are often not much helped by air bags and can sustain serious injuries, including brain injuries, facial injuries, broken limbs, spinal cord injuries, and other serious problems. It is important to call for paramedics at once if after a car accident a child displays any of these symptoms:

*Unconsciousness
*Vomiting
*Drowsiness
*Difficulty breathing
*Severe bleeding
*Severe pain
*Bleeding from one or both ears
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there are many things that parents can do to help prevent injuries to children and minors in car accidents:

1) Make sure that each child has their own safety seat, booster seat, or safety belt. Read directions carefully to ensure that you know when a booster seat, child safety seat or seat belt is appropriate.

2) Even on short rides, never hold a child in your lap. If you are in a car accident, the child could be torn from your lap or crushed by your body.

3) Do not allow children to eat or drink in a moving car. Be especially cautious about food items involving sticks or popsicle sticks. In the event of even a minor crash, these food and drink items could pose a choking hazard. Pull over for a meal break.

4) Never allow any passengers – especially children and minors – to ride in the cargo area of a station wagon, van, or truck. These areas do not have proper safety belts and anyone riding in these cargo areas can be thrown from the moving car or severely jostled.

5) Always ensure that children age 12 and under ride in the back. The front areas of the car present many dangers in the event of a car accident. A deployed air bag can choke a small child and in a car with no seat belt, a child is likely to sustain a serious head injury by crashing against the hard dashboard.

6) Use child safety locks. It is difficult to monitor children in the back seat and child safety locks ensure that a child cannot open a car door while the vehicle is in motion.