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What can happen to a child in a traffic accident

What can happen to a child in a traffic accident



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Inside the car, the child is the weakest passenger, the smallest and the most fragile. Therefore, in a traffic accident you need a restraint system greater than that of an adult.

On our site we tell you what can happen to a child in the event of a car accident and why it is so important that they travel with an approved seat.

Some years ago, with some great professionals and colleagues, we started a Road Safety conference, aimed at parents from schools, “The Safety of your children: your responsibility”. Of all the multidisciplinary days that are organized, you always learn things from the hands of other colleagues. In this case it was a phrase that perfectly summed up the entire deployment and the objectives of said event.: "Better to lose a minute in life than life in a minute". A forceful and reasoned phrase, which came from the mouth of my friend Eva María González Fernández (Local Police in Vélez Málaga and very involved in Child Road Safety training for many years), and that continues to resonate today in inside my head.

The legislation contemplates as mandatory use of Child Restraint Systems (CRS) on the roads and is blunt about it. And this is not a whim of the leaders; it is based simply on the laws of classical physics, which are responsible for injuries in high energy accidents. And is that, a child can suffer very serious injuries and even death in the event of a traffic accident.

Newton's first law of motion tells us that a body that is at rest will remain at rest, and that a body in motion will continue in motion, unless an external force acts on it. This justifies the sudden and unexpected projection or acceleration of a vehicle when it is hit by another, or the simple stop of a vehicle when braking (the friction force of the braking system and the friction of the asphalt against the wheels itself act)

In a high-energy accident, three consecutive traumas always occur:

1- The impact of the car against an obstacle that stops it more or less abruptly.

2- The impact of the occupants against vehicle structures.

3- The impact of the organs within the cavities that house them. At this time, a quantity of energy is produced, which is exchanged in different directions and which conditions the damaging effect on the different affected organs; always depending on its density and the contact surface that receives the impact.

This justifies the damage that occurs in the different organs after the abrupt cessation of a movement due to the exchange of forces. The movement of the vehicle, after a sudden stop, does not disappear, but is transmitted with the same intensity to our anatomy.

Let's take a graphic example to better understand everything previously exposed about the importance of speed in these cases:

- A sudden stop at 50 km / h could be equivalent to a free fall from 9 meters.

- A sudden stop at 100 km / h could be equivalent to a free fall from 39 meters.

Therefore, in any traffic accident, going back to what was initially explained, three energy exchanges occur in a traffic accident:

1- More or less abrupt deceleration of the vehicle until it stops after the impact.

2- In a second time, the projection of occupants in the direction of travel until their arrest, against the structures of the vehicle

3- And thirdly, a sudden deceleration of the occupants' organs until their arrest, against the anatomical structures that house and sustain them.

With all the data exposed so far, we can verify that it is not necessary to develop high speeds to cause serious injury to an occupant. Much more consideration must be taken with young children as travelers:

- Children have different anatomical characteristics from adults, starting with the fragility of their organs and other anatomical structures. The size of the head and its weight, in relation to the rest of the body, is proportionally greater than that of adults. This is why most head and neck injuries can occur up to about four years of age.

- Certain organs, such as the liver, they are more voluminous and less protected than in adulthood. From the age of 4, injuries are more frequent at the abdominal level.

All the advances in active and passive safety that have been implemented in series vehicles over the years (head restraints, seat belts, airbags, passenger compartment reinforcement, braking systems, etc.), which include SRIs (child restraint systems), are aimed at dissipating the energy generated in impacts and, therefore, minimizing the possibility of injury.

In the event of injuries, they will always act to reduce their severity. Without these devices the consequences would be much worse. Hence the importance of following the manufacturers instructions on their installation, use and maintenance.

You can read more articles similar to What can happen to a child in a traffic accident, in the category of child accidents on site.


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