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The most dangerous environment for your child

Photo of Harlan Thompson

Parents will go to any length to prevent their young children from being injured. The single most common place for kids to be seriously injured is one you have the least control over - the family car.

You can practice safe driving. You can use the car seats with the best safety records. You can watch your child like a mother eagle to keep him or her from becoming a statistic. But there are factors you cannot always overcome - erratic behavior by other drivers, mechanical failure, unsafe roadways and poor conditions.

The good news is that, given the enormous number of crashes occurring every day, most children are not seriously harmed. The bad news is that, for kids who are seriously injured, car crashes are the number one cause of death for kids under age 10.

Every hour, about 150 children are ushered into hospital emergency departments with injuries to the head, brain and spine, lung and other organ damage, limb amputation, rib fractures and permanent scarring. Even less serious injuries, resulting in cuts, bruises, lacerations and burns can result in lifelong trauma to the person you love most in the world.

What can you do?

You can improve the odds for your child by attending to these obvious recommendations by the centers for Disease Control:

· Don't buy a car seat or booster seat based on price. Getting a bargain on such an elementary matter as anti-collision preparedness is no bargain at all. Choose the right product for your child's age and size. This may mean replacement every year or so as your child grows. Choose a product with a track record for injury prevention. This is the best money you will ever spend.

· Put safety devices to work. The proper use of car seats for infants reduces the risk of death by 71 percent. For toddlers, 54 percent of toddlers are saved.

· Never seat your child in front of an airbag. When these devices work, they explode, with brutal consequences. Always put your child in the middle of the back seat. For very young children, place the child with a rear-facing seat. Yes, this means not seeing your child's face in the rear-view. When the child is older - ages 2 to 5 -- forward-facing seats are statistically safer.

· Be strict about safety. Your child should know from your words and your example that safety is serious business. Use seatbelts even when you are just going around the block.

When all else fails

Accidents will still happen, no matter how careful you may be. When this happens, you will find yourself overcome by physical, emotional and financial concerns. Addressing these concerns is an important part of what we do at Pulvers, Pulvers & Thompson, L.L.P., in Manhattan.

Our lawyers have been obtaining compensation for stressed out families since our founding in the 1930s. We can guide you through these traumatic events. When trouble strikes, call us - we can help.

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