Injuries to Children
Coconut Creek, Pompano Beach, Boca Raton, Hollywood, Davie and Pembroke Pines are some cities where we have recently handled or are handling injury/accident cases to children. Car accident cases are the most typical, but we have handled or are handling cases involving a child’s death from carbon monoxide poisoning, a laptop battery catching on fire killing three kids’ father in Cape Coral, Florida, go cart injuries at an amusement park, partial amputation of a child’s finger at a Club Med at Port St. Lucie, a child losing complete vision in one eye due to negligence of several different people, and a student being smashed in the face breaking his jaw at school. Over the years we have handled so many different types of injury/accident/death claims, the above is just a sampling.
From a child’s perspective, everything surrounding him is new, exciting, and harmless. The innocence of children combined with their curiosity is usually what leads them to dangerous situations or injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 19 years are from unintentional injuries. Additionally, the Florida Department of Health indicates that approximately 4 million children in Florida, ages 14 and under are estimated to experience an injury serious enough to demand medical attention.
According to the CDC, the leading cause of deaths among children is motor vehicles injuries. Part of the issue is that parents, caregivers, or guardians do not know how to use child seats correctly, which may cause the infant or child to move or fly out of the seat in a vehicle collision. Adults with children in their cars must know the appropriate stages of how children should ride in a vehicle according to their age. The following are the car seat stages listed by the CDC:
- Birth through age 2 – Rear facing child safety seat
- Ages 2-4/until 40lbs. – Forward facing child safety seat
- Ages 4-8 or until 4’9” tall – Booster seat
- After age 8 and/or 4’9” tall – seat belts
Further, children should never be seated in front of an air bag, as this increases the chances of injury or death for children. Also, individuals driving a vehicle with children should always wear their seat belts to set an example. The CDC reports close to 40% of children who do not wear their seatbelts are riding in a car with an unbelted driver.
Although the leading cause of injuries and deaths for children are car accidents, other types of injuries are due to negligence on behalf of a care taker, teacher, parent, guardian or manufacturer.
The following are provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Services and represent the leading causes of injury and death for children:
- Car crashes
- Accidental poisoning
Perhaps the most devastating aspect of injuries to children, are that most can be easily prevented with the appropriate safety awareness. For example, drowning can be avoided by having an adult accompany the child into the water. If the adult does not want to go in the water, the adult must supervise the child at all times. Supervision is necessary to prevent the child from drowning, slipping and falling, or drain entrapment. Drain entrapment occurs in pools and happens when a child’s hair, clothes, body part, or jewelry gets caught in a drain that is broken, has too much suction, does not have a gate cover, or is poorly maintained. When a public or community pool is not properly maintained, the city or association may be held liable for the child’s injuries.
Some parents and/or care takers are unfamiliar with suffocation and choking hazards to infants and toddlers. In the past and recently, there have been several types of cribs recalled by the Consumer Safety Product Commission due to the hazardous design. For instance, if the distances between the slats of a crib rail are wide enough, there is risk for the child’s head or body part to get stuck. Other products such as small toys, high chairs, strollers, clothing, shoes, cups, etc. have been recalled for a wide variety of reasons. Potential hazards found in products include:
- Tipping over
- Risk of exposure to mold
- Fire/violations in federal flammability standard
- Brain injury
- Infant death
Moreover, placing stuffed animals or toys in an infant’s crib can obstruct the baby’s airway if he or she moves. Thick bedding or blankets pose the same threat. Families should also switch from using plastic shopping bags to paper bags or reusable bags, to reduce the possibility of a child accidentally suffocating by placing the bag on his or her head. If there are any plastic bags in the home, it is highly recommended to discard them immediately.
Other highly preventable accidents are poisonings. Pre-schools, child care facilities, and families with children, especially toddlers, should not have any kind of cleaning products, makeup, perfumes, medications, detergents, or hair products at child’s reach. Aside from keeping items out of reach of children, the Safe Kids Worldwide Organization discusses several safety tips to prevent poisonings listed below:
- Install child safety locks on every cabinet that contains items poisonous to children
- Don’t leave poisonous items unattended during use
- Keep cleaning products in their original containers
- Throw away expired medications and products
Any serious injury to a child is emotionally devastating to a parent or guardian. Our Florida child injury lawyers understand the difficulties that come up with injuries to children and offer a free consultation to determine whether legal action is an option for you. Call our office now at 1-877-853-7466 if your child has experienced injuries of any kind due to the negligence of another.