At the beginning of August this year, two children were seriously injured outside of Splish Splash Water Park in Calverton after they were ejected from a Jeep during a car accident. Neither of the children were buckled up or secured within car seats, causing serious injuries to a 5-year-old and an 11-year-old who was run over by the front tire of the Jeep. Both these children were extremely lucky- as the results could have been much worse.
Car Accidents are #1 Cause of Death For Children
Car crashes are the number one cause of death for children under the age of 15. Most of the unintentional injuries and fatalities resulting from car accidents involving children are completely preventable just by making sure they are properly secured in safety seats and seatbelts. Unfortunately, more parents and guardians are either skipping this step when putting their kids in the car, or unknowingly making fatal mistakes when it comes to their child passenger seats resulting in hundreds of unnecessary deaths every year.
Child Passenger Safety Week
Between 2010 to 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 18,000 children under the age of 15 were involved in a car crash; 15.9% of the children died in these crashes. To help spread awareness and prevent further unnecessary child fatalities, the NHTSA named the last week of September Child Passenger Safety Week, followed by National Seat Check Saturday. From September 23 – 29, the NHTSA along with countless other national and local organizations launch active safety campaigns geared towards parents/guardians on the importance of car seat safety. Resources and events to assist on appropriately and properly installing car seats will be held throughout Long Island this week, and residents should be ready and willing to take advantage.
Biggest Car Seat Mistakes
Every 33 seconds, a child under the age of 13-years-old is involved in a car accident, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Car seats are vital to protecting our children when it comes to car accidents but if they are not being used properly, they may not do their job. NPR reports at least 43% of children who die in car accidents are not buckled properly in a seat belt or child passenger safety seat- most parents don’t even realize it.
An article published in Fatherly highlights the seven most common car seat mistakes parents are making that could cause serious harm or even death to their children in a car crash:
- Installing Car Seats Improperly– Common installation mistakes include wrong angles, using the wrong belt, not securing seat correctly, not following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Turning Car Seat Too Soon– According to new recommendations released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should keep their kids rear facing as long as possible. Yet, a number of parents turn their kids around well before just because it’s easier.
- Not Fastening Seat Top Tether- The top tether of the car seat can keep children facing forward from toppling in a car accident. Fatherly reports more than 64% of parents don’t even use the top tether and 50% aren’t attaching it correctly.
- Not Tightening Shoulder Harness Correctly- Leaving space in the harness is extremely dangerous and can cause your child to slip out of the seat and be ejected from the car. There should be no slack in the shoulder harness.
- Not Taking Off Winter Coats– Winter coats can cause a child to be loosely secured in a seat, even if it appears the straps are tight. There are an extra four inches of space between the coat and the child that can cause a child to fly out easily.
- Not Using The Right Seat- If children are in a seat that is too big or too small, they can be seriously injured in a car accident without the proper protection for their body.
- Missing Recalls- Not sending in the registration form for your car seat can cause parents to miss important safety recalls for their products that could put your kids in danger.
Long Island Resources
Parents on Long Island should take full advantage of local resources and events available during Child Passenger Safety Week, including participating in National Seat Check Saturday. Making sure your child’s safety seat is properly secured and appropriate for their size could save their lives and protect them permanent or disabling injuries.
Nassau and Suffolk Counties both offer multiple sites for car seat installation assistance. Parents are required to make appointments before to ensure they have enough time to ask all the questions needed for their child’s safety:
Contact: George at 516-382-0262
Education and Assistance Corporation
Department of Public Works, 170 Cantiague Rock Road, Hicksville
By appointment only
Se habla español
Second location: 175 Fulton Ave., Hempstead
By appointment only; Se habla español
Garden City Police Department
349 Stewart Ave., Garden City
Nassau County Traffic Safety Board
170 Cantiague Rock Road, Hicksville
Tuesday, Wednesdays 12:30-1:45pm
Contact: Christopher Mistron at 516-571-9664
North Shore LIJ Health System
Cohen Children’s Medical Center, 269-01 76th Ave., New Hyde Park
Select Saturdays and Sundays from March through November, 9am-12pm, call first for an appointment
Contact: Debora Riccardi at 718-470-3352
Strapped In Car Seat Safety
Visit us in Woodbury or House Calls Available
Text or call: 516-521-3696
Town of Hempstead Department Public Safety
200 N. Franklin Street, Hempstead
Contact: 516-538-1900 x217
Hassell Auto Body
390 Route 109, West Babylon
No appointment necessary
Contact: Doug Hassell, Jr. at 631-587-5500
East Hampton Town Police Department
131 Wainscott Northwest Road, Wainscott
Contact: John Claflin at 631-537-7575 x208
Education and Assistance Corporation
80 Wheeler Road, Central Islip
Se habla español; By appointment only
Contact: 631-648-7100 x210
Good Samaritan Hospital
1000 Montauk Highway, West Islip
Contact: Jill Bocchieri at 631-376-4109
7140 Republic Airport, Farmingdale
Call for open Saturday each month; others by appointment only
Contact: Trooper Frank Bandiero at 631-756-3389
Southold Police Department
41405 Route 25, Peconic
Contact: Henry Santacroce at 631-765-2600
Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office
100 Center Drive, Riverhead
Two or three days of each month, 9am-1pm
Contact: Deputy Sheriff Allison Zachino at 631-852-2651
Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Substation
Gabreski Airport, County Road 31, Westhampton
Every other Wednesday, 9-11:30am
Town of Brookhaven Division of Traffic Safety
1 Independence Hill, Farmingville
Town of Riverhead Police Department
210 Howell Ave., Riverhead
Contact: David Hegermiller at 631-727-4500 x335
Village of East Hampton Police Department
1 Cedar St., East Hampton
Contact: Officer Matthew Morgan at 631-324-0777
Village of Quogue Police Department
115 Jessup Ave., Quogue
Contact: Patrol Officer Kellie Hanley or Barbara Tiedemann at 631-653-4791
Protecting Long Island Children
For more than 25 years, our attorneys at Siler & Ingber have been huge local advocates for the safety of Long Island children. If your child has been injured in a vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence, our winning team is here to help. Contact us for a free case evaluation to explore your options for seeking justice by calling 1-877-529-4343 or filling out the contact form below.