Based on a study conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, entitled the New York City Child Fatality Report, notwithstanding the fact that many child injuries are both preventable and predictable, childhood injuries in the United States are the leading cause of disability and death among children. Studies reveal that 69% of child deaths were unintentional, including both non-transportation and transportation accidents. Throughout the City’s five boroughs, Queens was the borough with the highest percentage of unintentional injuries at 82%.
In child deaths, twenty-six (26%) of such injuries occurred on or around streets, roadways, sidewalks or intersections.
Motor Vehicle Related Injuries
Although transportation-related accidents in New York City involving children are only one third the national rate, vehicle-related deaths are nonetheless the leading cause of death amongst the City’s minors:
- 77% of motor vehicle-related accidents involved child pedestrians including two in strollers;
- 10% of fatal child injuries involved child bicyclists hit by a motor vehicle;
- 13% were children riding as passengers in motor vehicles.
Some Safety Issues that are Worth Considering
To reduce the number of child fatalities on the streets of Manhattan, convex mirrors should be installed on all trucks, buses, tractor-trailers, semitrailers and big rigs because they have significant blind spots. Speed cameras can be installed along Manhattan’s most dangerous streets where speeding vehicles contribute to accidents.
Child Safety Seats
The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its recommendations concerning a child car seat. Previously it was recommended that a child should be placed in a rear-facing child car seat at least until age two (2), but the recommendation was retracted and the AAP now recommends having your child remain in the rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest height or weight permitted by the seat. The AAP has also stated not to worry if your child’s legs are touching the back seat of the car, or even bending to fit because this is not unsafe and is not a justification to put them in a front facing seat sooner than needed.
Ensuring that the child seat harness is fitted correctly is also important. The harness should fit very snugly, but most parents are over concerned about their child’s “comfort;” but snug is safer and rarely as uncomfortable as you may think.