In America, driving is the main mode of transportation for most families. From going to after school activities, daycare, or the park, you may regularly find yourself driving with your kids in tow. For younger children, getting the right car seat and using it properly can go a long way to keeping them safe on the road. As they get older, other things will help them remain safe. The Law Office of Fredson Statmore Bitterman have seen many cases where a child was injured in a car accident. In many of those cases, proper precautions may have been able to prevent or reduce the instances of injuries. We strongly encourage all parents to read this guide closely and then implement the ideas that you aren’t already implementing. If you are in New Jersey and you do get in a car accident with your kids and aim to file a personal injury claim, give Fredson Statmore Bitterman LLC a call today to start down the road to getting the compensation you deserve.
Driving with a Child Safely
All too often, children are hurt in car accidents. Car accidents are one of the number one causes of death among children. In the U.S., more than 600 children are killed and more than 120,000 are injured in car crashes every year. Of the children who are killed, more than ⅓ of them are not wearing a seatbelt or in a car seat. Children are particularly vulnerable passengers, which is why it is so important for parents to take every measure they can to drive safely.
Your mindset when you drive is one of the main factors that is within your control when you are on the road. If you are overly reactive, distracted, or angry, you are putting you and your children at much greater risk of getting injured due to a car accident. Driving safely is not complicated, but it does call for, above all else, diligence and focus.
If you feel like you can’t improve as a driver; that you’re either a good driver or a bad driver, you are stuck in a fixed mindset antagonistic to growth. If you are not learning or improving through all the time you spend on the road, learning norms, expectations, and honing your execution, you have a mindset problem that is antagonistic to your goal of your child’s safety. So the foundational thing for improving your and your child’s safety on the road is to get yourself into a more growth-oriented mindset.
Now that you are looking to learn and hone your skills, the next thing is to select where to begin. As most car accidents occur because of distractions, we recommend you start by committing yourself to being a more focused driver. That means turning off your phone, listening to the road and the car instead of your music, and getting the temperature controls, etc. set to the desired level before embarking on a trip. Open up your senses to what is happening around you instead of insulating yourself. The more sensory information you have, the more prepared you will be to handle unexpected road obstacles and conditions. There is also the more personal dimension of focus, which has to do with our engagement with others and the world around us in general.
In recent years, neurologists have mapped some interesting changes to the neurological underpinnings of concentration which match our expectations: the brain builds neural pathways based off of the most common ways that it engages with phenomena. Like the formation of an elephant trail in the jungle, these mental habits become more well-established over time, and, as long as they work (i.e., fulfill the intent), they remain the habits that we keep. However, when we are watching videos, listening to music, talking with other people, eating, and driving at the same time, the cognitive load of these activities increases peripheral processing of task-irrelevant information, making us more distracted. In short, it is easy to become distracted on the road, and it takes commitment and effort to stay focused in our age of instantaneous digital interaction and the incredible amount of capital invested in capturing your attention.
The Car Seat
To transition now to more immediately practicable, but arguably less vital than your ability to concentrate on the road as a driver, is your use of car safety gear. For young children, car safety seats are designed to give them maximum protection from whiplash or other problems. Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat, as it will result in the best protection during everything from a speed bump to a serious car crash. As they get older, they will be better off with a forward-facing car seat, followed by a booster for school-aged children. Lastly, older children should always wear a seatbelt. Always read the instruction manual that comes with the car safety seat, as improper installation can totally void any benefits your child would gain from sitting in such a seat. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, over 70% of car seats are installed incorrectly! The main problem is that they aren’t secured tight enough to the vehicle.
Building off the previous point, make sure that you and your teenagers and kids are properly buckled up. Wearing a seatbelt significantly reduces the severity of injuries that occur from car crashes. We can’t say it enough: wear your seatbelts!
Don’t Leave Your Kid Alone in the Car
Every year, kids die from heatstroke due to being inadvertently left in a vehicle. Always be vigilant when you have kids in your car. You can leave yourself reminders that they are in there, like a toy on the front seat or on your purse. That way, you will have a physical reminder to always check the backseat before heading off to get groceries. You should also aim to keep kids away from playing in or near cars, as it can increase their chances of getting struck by one backing up.
Caution and Attentiveness
With proper caution and attentiveness, you can improve your child’s safety in and around vehicles. Having a growth mindset will help you learn to cross your t’s and dot your i’s more consistently, and properly using harnesses will help reduce injuries during a car crash. However, if you or your child gets injured in a car crash, consider getting legal help with your personal injury claim.
The attorneys at The Law Office of Fredson Statmore Bitterman in New Jersey have more than 50 years of experience helping clients who have been injured in a car crash. We will work hard on your behalf so that you get the compensation you justly deserve. You can send us a message online or get in touch with us at (973) 777-8600. Call now!