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What's the No. 1 cause of accidental death for children in Michigan? Car accidents

Injury lawyer gives 14 tips for protecting your kids in the car – let’s prevent auto accidents

The new teen driving law in Michigan is a move in the right direction for May’s “National Youth Traffic Safety Month.” During the month of May, the National Organizations for Youth Safety supports a number of projects to protect teen drivers and prevent car accidents. These include traffic safety education projects, supporting local law enforcement and promoting legislation to protect teen drivers (statistically, teen drivers are by age group, the most dangerous and the most likely to cause a car accident, followed by elderly drivers).

As Michigan personal injury lawyers who concentrate on helping people injured in car accidents, we want to stress the importance of Youth Traffic Safety Month. The following statistics are grim, but point to a tremendous need to tighten safety for teen drivers and children riding as passengers.

o The number one cause of accidental death for children ages 0-15 in Michigan is auto accidents.

o In 2008, car accidents and truck accidents in Michigan injured 5,094 children and killed 39.

o The danger is even greater for teens and young drivers: in 2008, car crashes killed 196 16-24-year-olds and injured 18,617.

o To put that in perspective, three out of five accidental deaths for 16- to- 24 year-olds are due to motor vehicle accidents.

– Source, Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

How can we help to save lives? Here are14 tips for protecting young children in the car and teen drivers. I hope these safety tips will help us prevent car accidents and save lives.

1. Secure your infant under the age of 1 and less than 20 lbs in a rear-facing car seat in your car or truck’s back seat.

2. Deactivate the front passenger airbag if a rear-facing car seat must be secured in your car or truck’s front seat.

3. Secure your toddler (1 year or older and 20 lbs or more) in a forward-facing car seat in your vehicle’s back seat.

4. Secure children 4 to 7 years old and under 4 foot 9 inches in height in a booster seat in your car or truck’s back seat.

5. Make sure your child’s safety and booster seat is properly installed. Use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Locator and find a certified technician who will inspect your child seat and show you how to correctly install it.

6. Ensure there have been no manufacturer recalls for your child safety or booster seat by consulting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Child Restraint Recall Campaign Listing.” It lists all child restraint recalls from 1990 to present by manufacturer.

7. Children 8 to 16 years old (and older) or children who are taller than 4 feet 9 inches should wear a properly adjusted seat belt.

8. Model safe behavior for children riding in your car or truck by wearing your seat belt and avoiding distracted driving behaviors, such as talking on your cell phone while driving, texting while driving, etc.

9. Secure all children 12 years old and younger in the rear-seat of your vehicle to avoid potential injury from a deployed airbag, should a car accident occur.

10. Stay off the road if you’ve been drinking alcohol.

12. Refuse to allow children to ride in a vehicle driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol.

13. Drive within the speed limit.

14. Drive a safe car or truck. Consult the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5-Star Safety Rating system to discover the crash worthiness and rollover safety of your car or truck.

For more child safety tips and Michigan resources for your kids, order a free copy of Michigan Auto Law’s book – How to Keep Your Children Safe – Simple Steps to Protect Your Loved Ones From Hidden Dangers. This book is a compilation put together by the injury lawyers in my office and covers lessons from helping people who have lived with the injury or loss of a child.

Steve Gursten is one of the nation’s top injury lawyers handling auto accident lawsuits. He is head of Michigan Auto Law and has received the highest verdict in the state for a car accident or truck accident victim in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Related information:

Teen drunk driving: Fictional tales of death and destruction

Top 5 hazardous actions by teen drivers

Car accident FAQs

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.

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