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How properly restraining children in cars could save lives

The Journal of Pediatrics recently published research that shows that North Carolina had the fourth-highest number of child fatalities from traffic accidents that occurred between 2010 and 2014. During that time period, 132 children died. However, North Carolina is not among the states with the most fatalities when the same statistic is considered percentage wise, or per 100,000 children.

The study was conducted by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Harvard and looked at trends by state. It found that the South had the highest number of child fatalities and the Northeast had the lowest. During the time period that the study covered, 2,885 children died in fatal motor vehicle accidents. This figure represents around 16 percent of children who were involved in deadly crashes.

The research identified several common elements in the accidents. The majority of the crashes, 62 percent of them, occurred on rural roads compared to 35 percent that took place on state highways. Many of the fatalities were due to children being improperly restrained or not at all. More than 10 percent of the children who died were in the front seat when they should not have been while about one in five kids were not appropriately restrained. Had there been a 10 percent increase in the correct use of restraints, the lives of more than 230 children would have been saved annually. One of the researchers said better enforcement of laws and regulations was critical.

Nonfatal car accidents can still cause catastrophic injuries. When the accident is the fault of the other driver, a person might assume that driver's insurance company will offer ample compensation to cover the cost of his or her medical bills and other expenses. However, the compensation might be inadequate. The injured person may want to contact an attorney. If the other driver was negligent, even if charges were not filed, a civil lawsuit might be successful.

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