Many safety regulations have changed over the last fifty years relating to the health and safety of children and adolescents. Lead paint is no longer used in gasoline and paint, because of the toxic and damaging effects it was found to have on children’s developing brains. Fencing is required around swimming pools to prevent children from accidental drowning. High rise buildings such as hotels and apartments are required to have window guards to prevent small children from accidentally falling from open windows. The majority of newer buildings do not even have windows that can be opened at all. Some of the most comprehensive changes regarding safety of children have been in the area of motor vehicle safety.
Seatbelts were not required to be worn by children riding in an automobile or truck until 1977. Between 1977 and 1984, all 50 states and the District of Columbia enacted legislation requiring children under the age of six to be restrained in an approved child safety seat. The laws have continued to evolve concerning the age and size for children to transition from child safety seats, to factory installed seatbelts. Very young children must ride in a car seat that is rear facing. As the child ages, they are able to move to a forward facing child safety seat that is approved by the United States Department of Transportation, according to age and size.
In 2006, a study was released by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This study revealed approximately 80 percent of all vehicle crashes involved distracted driving. Some of the top causes for the distraction were the use of a cell phone, and being tired. This study showed that where cell phone use or being tired was a contributing factor to the accident, the distraction occurred within three seconds of the crash. In 2010, the state of Georgia enacted a law that prohibited anyone under the age of 18 from using any wireless communications device while driving. The law also prohibits persons over the age of 18 from texting while driving, but still allows them to have a conversation while driving and using a cell phone. In addition, if the driver has an accident while violating these laws, the fine is doubled. Neither of these motor safety laws existed when I was a toddler, nor when my parents were children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that during 2013 in the United States, the proper use of a child safety seat reduced infant mortality by 71 percent. This same study identified that a toddler’s risk of death reduced by 54 percent. Booster seats used by toddlers proved to be much safer for a child, verses using the factory installed seat belt. The reduction of serious injury for children ages four through eight was reduced by 45 percent when the child used the appropriate booster seat. Seat belt use by adolescents accounted for a reduction in the risk for death or serious injury by approximately 50 percent.
Browski, M. (2015, November 24). Week 4 – Instructor Guidance. Lecture.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Injury prevention and control: Motor vehicle safety. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Child_Passenger_Safety/CPS-Factsheet.html
Francis, D. (2015, December 3). Reducing Accidents is Key to Lower Child Mortality. Retrieved December 3, 2015, from http://www.nber.org/digest/dec99/glied.html
Georgia’s Texting Laws. (n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2015, from http://www.gahighwaysafety.org/highway-safety/texting-laws/
Mossler, R. (2014). Child and Adolescent Development (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 40-6-241.1
Office Code of Georgia Annotated § 40-8-76