By ALLEN MCQUISTON
The Jemez Agency
I was driving over to Smith’s the other day and saw a woman stopped behind me at the light with what appeared to be a toddler in the seat next to her.
It kind of ticked me off, but then I thought, it’s a small town, what’s the harm. We never have accidents here, right? Every 33 seconds, a child is involved in a car crash. Car crashes continue to be a leading cause of death of children in the United States.
An average of 11 children per week died in motor vehicle accidents nationwide between 2010 and 2014. Of these deaths, 43 percent were either unrestrained or improperly restrained, including 15 percent who were sitting inappropriately in the front seat.
As a parent, grandparent, or other caregiver, nothing is more important than to keep our children safe from harm. As a driver, young children are some of the most vulnerable passengers in the car. What can we do to protect them?
Choose and use a properly installed child safety seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury in passenger cars by 71% for infants less than one year old, and by 54%for toddlers age 1 to 4 years old.
Also, and this is crucial in case of an accident, make sure important information about your child is available to first responders. Use a sticker or tape information with the child’s name, emergency contact, and medical information on the car seat. This will help the emergency response team determine important information about the child and act quickly. Think about that. You’re driving with a child and have an accident. You’re knocked out, and your child needs medical attention. Alerting medical responders to allergies, medicines etc. that effect your child can be life saving.
You never know when an accident might occur, but if it does, you’ll be glad you took the time to keep your precious cargo safe.