During the holiday season, you hear about many causes to help protect children or treat them for serious medical conditions. One you may not hear much about is child deaths from car crashes. However, auto accidents are the leading cause of unintentional deaths among children 1 to 14 years old, reports MedlinePlus of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
ScienceDaily shared a recent study that looked at these fatalities from the years 2010 to 2014. It revealed which area of the country was the most dangerous for children in collisions and why.
Most dangerous U.S. region
Unfortunately, the South had the most child fatalities from motor vehicle accidents, coming in far ahead of the rest of the U.S. Over half of children who died in car crashes during those years lived in the South. The annual rate here was 1.34 per 100,000 children, with the Northeast having the lowest rate, 0.38. The national average was 0.94.
At 21 percent, Virginia came in the top 10 for having the highest percentage of child auto fatalities. However, the state’s rate per 100,000 was only at 0.73.
Reasons for the results
Researchers looked at multiple variables to determine which ones increased the number of deaths. The South had such high numbers from the following factors:
- Driving on rural roads
- Not using or improperly using safety restraints on children
- Allowing children to sit in front
- Having limited or no red light camera policies
In addition, those who were riding in vehicles other than vans were more likely to die. The study concluded that using safety restraints correctly and consistently, as well as enforcing traffic laws, would decrease the number of child fatalities due to auto collisions.
Prepare for holiday travel
With these facts in mind, prepare well for any holiday travel you will do. Make sure your children wear seat belts or are in appropriate car seats. Follow the speed limit and stay away from rural roads when possible. Eliminate distractions while driving, account for poor weather conditions and avoid driving at night if you can. Remember to watch out for dangerous drivers, too.