Articles Posted in Injuries to Children

When you think of car accidents, you oftentimes think of two vehicles colliding into each other. What is commonly overlooked is the dangers that lie within the car through the withering heat of the summer season. As the weather continues to warms up throughout the state, parents and guardians are urged to be extremely cautious of the heat and the risks that are associated with child heatstroke deaths in Boston and elsewhere.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were nearly 35 fatal incidents reported throughout the nation in 2009 because of heat-related car accidents. Heatstroke is in fact the number one cause of non-crash, vehicle-related fatalities for kids who are under the age of 14. Now, the NHTSA will be launching a brand new nationwide campaign to help prevent these kinds of accidents, urging both parents and caregivers to think “Where’s baby? Look before you lock.”

Our Boston child injury lawyers understand that heatstroke, or “hyperthermia,” is a very real threat here in Boston and elsewhere throughout the state. Some of the most common injuries resulting from heatstroke from cars in children, aside from death, is loss of hearing, blindness and permanent brain injury. These are not only injuries that can cause a lifetime of pain and suffering, but they’re also injuries that can be completely avoided.

“This campaign is a call-to-action for parents and families, but also for everyone in every community that cares about the safety of children,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The campaign will be spreading its word via online and radio ads. Later on in the summer, the Administration will be releasing its findings on just how effective after-market products are — the ones used to help prevent a child from being accidentally left in a vehicle.

Here’s how it happens: A child suffers a fatal heatstroke injury after being left in a vehicle alone. It can also happen when a child has access to an unlocked car and is not being supervised by an adult. Oftentimes children fall asleep in vehicle, and with their lack of noise they’re unknowingly left in the vehicle.

There’s no specific demographic that’s more susceptible to these kinds of accidents. Families of all walks of life are vulnerable to these kinds of situations when not paying attention. That’s why the NHTSA is launching this new campaign, to help to raise awareness and to help parents and guardians to remember children and reduce the risks of a non-crash, vehicle-related accident.

Parents are reminded to:

-Never leave a kid in a vehicle unattended.

-Make a habit of looking in the vehicle before getting out and locking it up.

-Ask daycare centers and other childcare providers to notify you immediately if your child is unaccounted for.

-Teach your kids that a vehicle is not a playground.
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There’s a brand new series of public service announcements (PSA) that are here to help parents and guardians choose the right car seat for the young passengers in their family.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it’s not only important to make sure parents and guardians have the right car seat for their children, but to make sure that these seats are used and buckled correctly.

Properly picking out and properly using a child’s car seat can help to significantly reduce the risks of injury to children in the event of a car accident Boston or elsewhere.
Our Boston child injury attorneys understand that car seat safety recommendations and guidelines are a serious topic among safety officials and should be as important a topic for parents and guardians of those who are under the age of 12. The NHTSA recently teamed up with the Ad Council to promote this lifesaving information.

Properly buckling up children in the vehicle during every car ride is so important. As a matter of fact, the NHTSA estimates that there were nearly 9,000 young lives that have been saved from 1975 to 2008 had child restrain systems been properly utilized.

“Safety is our top priority for everyone on our roadways, and we’re calling on parents to do everything they can to protect our most vulnerable passengers,” said U.S. Department of Transportation’s Secretary Ray LaHood.

The newly-created PSAs being used to spread the word about the importance of child car seats will be airing on the radio, on television, online and in other outdoor advertising mediums. It’s called “The Right Seat” and it’s helping parents to do just that — chose the right seat. The right seat includes forward-facing, rear-facing and booster seats for smaller, younger passengers. The campaign is targeting parents and caregivers who already have car seats, too. It’s helping to make sure they’re placing their children in the right seat and to make sure they’re buckling them in properly every time.

A Spanish version of this PSA will be released later this year, in May.

Car accidents continue to be the number one cause of death for residents under the age of 12 across the U.S. As a matter of fact, there were more than 4,000 kids under the age of 12 who were killed in car accidents between 2006 and 2010. In addition to these tragic roadway fatalities, another 700,000 kids were injured — a number larger than the entire population of Boston.

According to David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator, properly buckling in these young children is the best way to keep them safe and to save their lives in the event of an accident. Parents are urged to review the NHTSA guidelines and recommendations regarding child seats to make sure they’re the safest they can be during every car ride.
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There’s a new addition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) family. It’s a new “10-year-old” dummy and it’s helping to test new child car seats for children who weight 65 to 80 pounds.
With the growing number of child car seats and booster seats for heavier children, the NHTSA felt it necessary to create a crash test dummy to accurately test these devices. The new “kid dummy” is the best way to test the effective to test these new seats and see if they’re effective in protecting your child in the event of a car accident in Boston.

Our Massachusetts car accident lawyers understand that child safety seat requirements were recently updated by officials to stay up to date with the latest research and with the latest technologies for these safety devices. As manufacturers continue to create products to meet consumers need, it’s important for officials to stay on top of these products to help ensure that they’re the best they can be.

“The new test dummy breaks new ground for the department’s crash test program and is a significant step forward for evaluating child seat performance,” said Ray LaHood, the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Most important, the new kid dummy is going to be able to offer new information regarding chest acceleration as well as knee and head excursions. According to a final rule that was recently issued by the NHTSA, federal car seat standards must now include booster seats and child car seats with heavier-weight children. Now that these seats are covered under federal standards, researchers will dissect these seats to make sure that they effectively manage collision energy and that the seats stay put when an accident happens. The new dummy will help researchers to better test this.

Car seat makers are allotted 24 months to make sure that their new higher-weight booster seats and child car seats meet the new federal requirements.

David Strickland with the NHTSA also recently announced his excitement for the new child dummy and for the new, stricter child car seat compliance testing program. He adds that researchers aren’t done. Although the “10-year-old” dummy was just introduced to the NHTSA crash dummy family, researchers are already looking into ways to make this dummy better in search of more accurate results.

Under the new child car seat recommendations from the NHTSA, parents are urged to keep their child in a car seat for as long as they fit within the seat’s height and weight recommendations. Parents are also urged to keep their child in a booster seat, in the back seat, until they meet the height and weight requirement for these seats. This is typically when a child weighs 80 pounds or reaches a height of 4 feet and 9 inches.

Remember, car accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 3- and 14-years-old. In 2009, there were nearly 1,500 people in this age group who were killed in car accidents across the country. We can all help to reduce these risks and these fatality statistics by making sure that children are buckled in correctly during every ride in every vehicle.
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Backup cameras may not be a part of all cars as soon as we thought. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) decided that it was going to postpone the creation of a rule that would have required these devices in all new cars, trucks and SUVS by at least 2014, according to CNN Money. Why, you might ask? The NHTSA says that it needs further data and study analysis before making this kind of regulation. Critics say federal watchdogs are bowing to auto manufacturers, which have complained about the $200 price tag.

These cameras were initially proposed by the NHTSA to help reduce the risks of backover car accidents in Boston and elsewhere. These types of accidents kill about 230 people and injure and additional 20,000 every year. Children and elderly are the ones who are most at risk for these types of accidents. Children under the age of 5 account for about 45 percent of these accidents while residents over the age of 70 account for another 35 percent.
“The Department remains committed to improving rear-view visibility for the nation’s fleet and we expect to complete our work and issue a final rule by December 31, 2012,” said the NHTSA.

Our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers remember when this proposal was initially announced by the NHTSA. Under this original proposal, drivers would be required to see what is directly behind their vehicle whenever it’s in reverse. These cameras would be especially important in trucks and SUVs because they have much bigger blind spots than passenger cars. Under the original proposal, 10 percent of cars that were sold would have to comply with the new standard by 2012, then 40 percent by 2013 and then 100 percent by 2015.

Cars aren’t quite off the hook though. As consumers increase their demands for aerodynamic vehicles to help save at the pump, the blind spots on these vehicles are growing with every model.

According to Ami Gadhia, with Consumers Union, every car, truck and SUV has the same blind spot — the blind spot right behind the bumper. This blind spot can range from 5 feet to 60 feet. What is lost in these blind spots is in serious danger, whether it is a fire hydrant, an animal or even a person.

The rear-view camera has already found its way into some cars on our streets, starting with luxury cars. With this technology, drivers can see what is directly behind their vehicle by using a small screen in their dash board or center counsel.

The rule was first passed in 2007. It’s called the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act. This Act was named after a 2-year-old child who was backed over and killed while playing in their own driveway. The father was the driver of that reversing vehicle.

The NHTSA says that this regulation could help to save more than 100 lives every year. It could also help to prevent nearly 10,000 injuries.

The NHTSA estimates that there will be nearly 17 million vehicles sold in 2014. It also estimates that it would cost approximately $2 billion to equip all of these vehicles with the live-saving technology. Some are arguing that the costs are too high while others are arguing the rate of fatality is too high.
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Parents, take note: More than 14,200 child safety seats have been recalled due to a manufacturing flaw that could lead to injuries to children in Boston and throughout the U.S.

Our Boston car accident attorneys have learned from the register your child’s car seat by visiting the department of transportation’s website.
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We recently discussed National Child Passenger Safety Week on our Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog. This week-long campaign raised awareness among parents about the importance of properly buckling in children during every car ride.
Now, to supplement that campaign, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is teaming up with Chuggington traffic safety program to help educate children ages 2 to 7 about safe traveling habits. Chuggington is an animated video series that teaches young ones about important safety tips they can practice to avoid child injury in Massachusetts. The educational program offers a child-safety pledge, activities and tips for parents that can be downloaded from a website.

“Educating children at an early age about the importance of wearing bicycle helmets, looking both ways when crossing the street and buckling up leads to a lifetime of good traffic safety habits,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

As we’ve recently discussed, car accidents are the number one cause of death for children under the age of 15. In 2009, this age group experienced nearly 1,500 fatalities and 170,000 injuries because of traffic-related accidents. In 2007, there were more than 260 children in this age group injured in pedestrian accidents. Another 115,000 young pedestrians were injured during this year as well.

The partnership between the NHTSA and Chuggington aims to reduce the risks of accidents for young bus riders, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Throughout the series, Chuggington and the other characters receive badges for practicing safe traffic behavior. The series also provides your child with an opportunity to receive his or her very own Chuggington safety badge. The campaign is also pushing the “Think Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe!” pledge. Children are urged to agree to and sign the pledge to promise to practice safe habits at all times.

Parents are still urged to visit one of our Massachusetts child car seat inspection locations to have a certified technician take a look at their child’s car seat to make sure that it’s properly installed. In the U.S., it is estimated that about 70 percent of car seats are improperly installed. These seats have been proven to have the ability to save children in the event of a car accident. We just need to make sure that they’re being installed properly in the event of an accident.

Check out the latest child car seat recommendations as well to make sure that you’ve got the right car seat for the age, weight and height of your child.

Remember, if you’re busted in the state of Massachusetts with a child who isn’t properly restrained in your vehicle, you could possibly face a $25 fine for the first offense. Take the extra few seconds to properly buckle your child during every car ride. It could help save his or her life.
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There’s a new cartoon that’s going to teach your child some useful tools to remember when traveling near or in cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has partnered up with Chuggington, a popular animated series, in an attempt to help prevent injuries to children in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

Children under the age of 8 are the target audience for this campaign, which includes downloadable safety tips, a kid-focused safety pledge and a number of activities for parents and caregivers to practice with children.
“Educating children at an early age about the importance of wearing bicycle helmets, looking both ways when crossing the street and buckling up leads to a lifetime of good traffic safety habits,” said Ray LaHood, the U.S. Transportation Secretary.

Our Boston injury lawyers understand that car accidents continue to be the number one cause of death for children. It’s estimated that there are more than 1,300 deaths and roughly 180,000 injuries to children under the age of 15 in car accidents in the U.S. in 2009. There were more than 260 deaths and nearly 200,000 injuries that occurred to child pedestrians in 2007 while playing around or in vehicles. For this reason, the new campaign will cover safety tips for bicyclists, school bus riders, pedestrians and child car seats.

Throughout the new series, the characters will be learning important lessons in each episode that will help children to understand the dangers associated with each of these modes of travel. Through each episode, characters will earn rewards, or badges, for practicing safe behavior. The creators will be pushing the “The ‘Think Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe!’ pledge to these children, which is meant to teach your child to do exactly as it says. The show aims to get children excited about learning safety rules.

This campaign was launched just in time for National Child Passenger Safety Week, which is used to urge parents to review the rules and recommendations regarding their child and their child’s car seat. During this time, parents can visit one of the many child seat inspection locations in Massachusetts to have their child’s seat examined and installed by a certified technician. The inspections are most oftentimes free of charge and they can teach you the proper techniques to install a child seat. You are urged to call and make an appointment before visiting any location.

According to national statistics, about three-fourths of all child car seats in the U.S. are installed incorrectly. We recently told you about different ways to ensure that your child is safely buckled during every car ride and the Massachusetts child restraint laws on our Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog.

Parents are urged to continue to discuss safety tips with young children in an effort to help prevent any serious injury. It is important to equip your child with the knowledge and skills to be able to travel safely.
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The State of Massachusetts is celebrating National Child Passenger Safety Week through this Saturday, Sept. 24. According to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD), child passenger safety is a top priority of our highway officials. These departments continuously work with one another and with local municipalities and local organizations to help promote proper child passenger seat usage and installation. Throughout this awareness week, parents and caregivers have been urged to join the festivities, spread the word and check out one of our state’s Child Passenger Safety checkup events. These child-seat checkups have been taking place throughout the commonwealth, and will help to ensure that adults are properly buckling in their little ones to protect their safety in the event of a car accident in Massachusetts.
“As a mother of four children, I know how important it is to correctly select, install and use child safety seats,” said Sheila Burgess, director of the Highway Safety Division for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, according to a news release. “This checkup and the others taking place across the state represent our commitment to ensuring parents and caregivers are safely buckling up children as well as themselves on every drive.”

Our Boston car accident attorneys understand that more than 75 percent of child safety seats are installed into vehicles improperly by an adult. Parents are urged to stop by one of the Child Safety Seat checkup locations just to make sure you’re properly strapping in your child. At these inspection stations, nationally certified child-passenger safety officials will be available to inspect your techniques and help you to improve your child’s safety. Improperly buckling in a young passenger can result in serious injuries.

According to Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law:

-As of July 2008, all children that ride in a motor vehicle must be seated in a federally approved child seat.

-Children are required to be properly fastened and secured in a child seat until they are at least 8 years old or taller than 57 inches.

-A booster seat/seat belt combination must be worn by all children who have outgrown the height and weight requirements for a child seat. This usually happens when a child weighs at least 40 pounds, has reached the age of 8 or is taller than 57 inches.

-Children 13 and older are required to wear a seat belt.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 1,300 children under the age of 15 killed in traffic accidents in 2009. Nearly 180,000 young passengers were injured in these incidents. Many of these fatalities and injuries could have been prevented if parents had taken the time to properly restrain children in a vehicle during every car ride.
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A recent car accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike took the lives of two and injured three. Massachusetts state police report that a 6-year-old was fatally injured when a van, driven by a 25-year-old female, smashed into a box truck and was thrown into the breakdown lane of the Turnpike.

It then hit the guardrail, passed over three lanes of traffic, hit the center guardrail, flipped over and came to a rest on its roof in the center of the highway. A 6-year-old passenger was thrown from the van during the collision, according to The Republican. The driver and two 4-year-old girls were transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.
The driver of the truck was not injured in the accident. The westbound lanes of the Turnpike were closed for the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section to conduct an investigation and for cleanup. Investigators are focusing on whether or not the 6-year-old was properly belted during the accident. Traffic was rerouted in Auburn at exit 10. Traffic was backed up for about 10 miles as a result of the accident.

Our Boston car accident attorneys understand that traffic can be hectic at times on the Turnpike. In addition to safe driving habits, making sure that all passengers are properly restrained is one of the most important steps someone can take to ensure occupant safety. To help ensure the safety of child passengers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a new set of recommendations for buckling up your little ones.

Child passenger restraint recommendations:

-Children should remain in each child seat until they meet the manufacturer’s height and weight limits.

-Keep children in rear-facing car seats as long as possible. These seats help to support a child’s head, neck and spine in the event of an accident.

-Read instruction manuals to learn how to properly install the car seat by using either the seat belt or the LATCH system.

-All passengers under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat.

-Never place a child that is using a rear-facing car seat in front of an active air bag.

-Children should be seated in booster seats until they’re at least 13-years-old or are at least 4-foot-6.

“Selecting the right seat for your child can be a challenge for many parents. NHTSA’s new revised guidelines will help consumers pick the appropriate seat for their child,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

Another important factor we would like to point out in the accident is the fact that is rolled and came to a rest on its roof. Although safe driving advocates have done much research on the likelihood of rollover accidents on a number of cars, there are tips you can follow if your vehicle is one of ones that is more susceptible to these types of accidents.

Tips to avoid a rollover accident:

-Steer clear of conditions that could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, including drowsy driving, intoxicated driving and speeding.

-Be extra careful on rural roads.

-Try not to panic. The NHTSA says, “If your vehicle should go off the roadway, gradually reduce the vehicle speed and then ease the vehicle back on to the roadway when it is safe to do so.”

-Keep an eye on your tires. Make sure that they’re properly inflated and not worn.

-Be cautious when loading you vehicle. The more weight your vehicle is carrying, the less stable it becomes.
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With all the new advancements in motor-vehicle technology, cars are safer than ever. But some of the original safety devices will most likely keep you safe in a Boston car accident.

Seat belts and child safety seats are still some of the most effective lifesavers and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released a report illustrating the importance of properly buckling up all vehicle occupants.
“While we’re looking for the next big breakthrough in vehicle safety, we should keep in mind that many existing strategies at the driver and passenger level still can yield gains,” says Adrian Lund, Institute president.

Our Massachusetts car accident attorneys understand that nearly 100 people die on our roadways every single day. Many of these fatalities can be prevented if drivers take just a few seconds to buckle up. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), preliminary estimates conclude that nearly 33,000 people were killed because of motor vehicle accidents in the United States in 2009.

Massachusetts seat belt law states that all vehicle occupants 12-years-old and older must wear a seat belt except:

  • Vehicle occupants that have proof from a physician that a medical condition or a disability makes wearing a seat belt impossible or dangerous.
  • Occupants of vehicles that were made before July of 1966.
  • Drivers of tractors, buses, taxis and of trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 18,000 pounds or more.
  • On-duty postal workers.
  • Police and fire vehicle drivers.
  • Emergency vehicle passengers.

Seat belts reportedly saved the lives of nearly 13,000 people in 2009. According to the NHTSA, more than 3,600 additional people could have been saved if everyone were wearing a seat belt during a motor-vehicle accident.

The study also stresses the importance of properly-used child safety seats in the event of a traffic crash. While there has previously been some confusion as to which child should use which child seat, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released new recommendations to help clear the confusion.

This most recent information states that parents and guardians should keep their child in each type of child restraints, including forward-facing, rear-facing and child booster seats for as long as the child fits with the height and weight requirements suggested by the manufacturer.

“Safety is our highest priority,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The ‘best’ car seat is the one that fits your child, fits your vehicle and one you will use every time your child is in the car.”

Child safety seat recommendations:

-Children under the age of 1: always ride in a rear-facing car seat.

-Children ages 1- to 3-years-old: Keep children in rear-facing seats for as long as possible. Once your child has outgrown the manufacturer’s height and weight recommendations for the car seat, you can move your child to a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

-Children ages 4- to 7-years-old: Keep your child in a forward-facing child car seat with a harness until they have exceeded the weight and height limit for the seat. Once they’ve outgrown these limits, it’s time to move them to a booster seat.

-Children ages 8- to 12-years-old: Keep your child in a car booster seat until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. They should typically graduate to an adult seat and seat belt once they’ve reached 4 feet, 9 inches. Make sure that the seat belt fits snugly across the upper thighs and not on the stomach. Also make sure that the shoulder portion of the belt lies snug across the shoulder and chest. The belt should not cross over the child’s neck or face. Your child is always safer to ride in the back seat.

While your new car may be equipped with cameras, top-of-the-line airbag systems, override steering systems and vehicle detection systems, some of the most effective ways to prevent injury in the event of a collision is a good-old seat belt.
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