Hidden Threats to Children In and Around Motor Vehicles [infographic]

a child playing on road, accident lawyersChildren are especially vulnerable to non-traffic injuries and fatalities involving automobiles. From 1990 to 2014, there were 11,759 non-traffic related incidents that caused 3,396 fatalities to children. These injuries and fatalities can be caused by suffocation, crushing, falls, fires and other dangers. When children are injured or killed in these incidents, motorists, vehicle manufacturers, parts manufacturers, and mechanics may be liable for the injuries and wrongful deaths that occur.

Deadliest Dangers

Of the 11,759 incidents reported from 1990 to 2014, the median age of children injured or killed was 3.7 years old. The most dangerous threat children were affected by was being left inside a hot vehicle. This affected 3,115 children and caused 729 fatalities.

This was followed by incidents involving vehicles backing over a child. From 1990 to 2014, backovers caused 1,232 fatalities. Children are particularly susceptible to these types of incidents as they can easily walk or crawl behind a vehicle without being seen by the driver. Similarly, frontovers are equally deadly and from 1990 to 2014, there were 1,439 frontovers that caused 692 fatalities. Both of these are easily preventable types of accident that can be prevented by the installation of frontal and rear-view cameras and collision avoidance systems.

Vehicles that were knocked into motion either by an outside impact or unauthorized operation of the vehicle’s controls caused 227 deaths. This cause of death was driven in part by the 415 underage drivers who caused 203 fatalities.

Other causes of death include 61 fatalities stemming from 172 incidents involving power windows. Incidents involving power windows can cause crushing and choking injuries. There were also 134 falls that caused 54 fatalities, and 79 fires that caused 41 fatalities.

Over the 25 year period from 1990 to 2014, there were 3,377 other incidents including injuries caused by vehicle doors, hoods, seats, and other components that caused 157 fatalities.

Protecting Children and Preventing Injuries and Fatalities

Vehicle technologies including collision prevention systems, cameras, motion sensors, and door entry alarms can help protect children and prevent injuries and fatalities. However, these technologies are not flawless and can fail. When these technologies fail, or when the negligent actions of a motorist, mechanic, or manufacturer cause injuries or death, accident lawyers in Chicago can pursue claims for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and punitive damages against those responsible for contributing to or causing the injury.