National and Statewide Statistics
Statistics provided from the Utah Department of Health and the Violence and Injury Prevention Program demonstrate that:
• 85% of children ride in seats that are not properly secured or that are not appropriate for their age and size.
• In the US, 2/3 of child fatalities in car accidents are due to improper safety seats.
• Each year, more than 500 children are hospitalized for traumatic injuries in Utah
• Every hour a child is resulted to an emergency room after being injured in a car crash
Utah Child Safety Seat Laws
The medical community and public are overwhelmingly expressing their disappointment that in this 2010 Utah Legislative Session, the House Panel is in favor of implementing House Bill 113 which would lighten up the current Child Safety Seat Law. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that representatives from Primary Children’s Medical Center, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Child Passenger Safety Board were frustrated with the proposed changes in the bill because they aren’t addressing child safety but rather legalizing unsafe child safety measures. Dr. Charles Pruitt, medical director of Primary Children’s hospital in Salt Lake stated, “I am, frankly, angry, sick and tired of seeing dead children come into my emergency room because they were not restrained properly.”
Proponents of HB113 argue that the way parents protect their children is a freedom and a state right—not a decision to be put in the hands of the government. Mr. Herrod, Representative from Provo stated, “ I get frustrated with do-gooders that try to tell parents what to do. If they’re out to protect kids, they should go after alcohol.” Advocates of Children Safety groups and who oppose HB 113 argue that just as Utah has a statewide seatbelt law and a basic helmet law, it is a lifesaving practice to require parents to properly restrain their children car seats and booster seats. These advocates argue that children are too young to make the decision to stay safe and not all parents will keep their children safe. Also, emergency room visits and injuries cost the state millions in dollars—injuries that could very well be prevented if the child was properly restrained.
What is HB 113
House Bill 113 would repeal the mandatory booster or safety seat for 5-8 year olds and allow these children to be restrained by a normal seat belt if:
• The available safety seats are occupied.
• The vehicle travels no farther than four miles from the child’s residence. A few examples of these types of short trips would be transportation to school, church or grocery store outings.
• The street on which the child is traveling on does not have a speed limit in excess of 45 mph.
Child Fatalities in Utah Car Crashes
As an experienced Salt Lake personal injury attorney, I have been most fortunate to help many victims of Utah car accidents successfully obtain a fair and just settlement for their injuries, pain and suffering that was caused by another’s negligence. It is difficult to see so many children who have sustained traumatic injuries due to not being properly restrained in a car seat. Many of these injuries and child fatalities could have been prevented if the child had been in a car seat or booster seat. My clients are often times surprised to learn that motor vehicle crashes are the single largest threat to the lives of Utah Children. According to the Utah Department of Health, each year, more children are killed in Utah car accidents than cancer, homicide, suicide, heart disease, pneumonia and diabetes combined.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney who is Experienced with Children’s Accidents
Auto and bike related accidents involving children are all too common. Drunk, fatigued, over extended, angry, and distracted drivers can potentially cause serious harm to your child. When your child is not properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat, who is responsible for your child’s injuries becomes convoluted and insurance companies will try to use comparative responsibility to negate the amount they have to pay victims. Dealing with insurance companies can be quite frustrating.
This is why it’s very important for parents and guardians of injured children to get legal guidance ASAP from experienced professionals. If your child was injured in the State of Utah, you can turn to the battle-proven team here at the Christensen Law Firm, PLLC. We are a client-centered firm that focuses exclusively on personal injury law. Please look over our materials at UtahPersonalInjuryLawFirm.com or call us today at (801) 506-0800 to discuss your childhood accident case.