Motor vehicle accidents can affect anyone, but children are especially vulnerable if hit by a car or otherwise involved in a car crash. Motor vehicle accidents cause one out of every four unintentional injury fatalities of children under age 13.
Child injury statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2019, 73% of child car crash fatalities took place in passenger vehicles. Child pedestrian accidents accounted for 16% of child motor vehicle fatalities in 2019, and 4% of child motor vehicle fatalities in 2019 involved children riding bikes.
While these numbers are unacceptably high, it is important to note that the rate of car accident fatalities per million children under age 13 has decreased 80% in 2019 compared to fatalities in 1975.
Keeping children safe
It is important that children under age 12 ride in the rear seat of the car. In 2019, 14% of children killed in motor vehicle accidents occurred with the child riding in the front seat. In 2017, 90.1% of children under age 13 were restrained when riding in a motor vehicle. Restraint use greatly reduces the number of child fatalities in motor vehicle accidents.
Watch out for children when driving
All motorists have a duty of care while driving, and this includes being aware of children in their vicinity. Motorists should not speed through school zones or in neighborhoods where children are present. Children can be unpredictable and may dart out into traffic. Motorists should be aware of this to avoid striking a child while driving. If a child is riding in a vehicle, they should be in the back seat and appropriately restrained. This can help avoid child fatalities should a car crash occur. Ultimately, motorists must not be negligent when behind the wheel to keep children safe.