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Study looks at car accident deaths of children under 15

According to a study that appeared in the "Journal of Pediatrics," Pennsylvania had one of the lowest rates of child deaths in motor vehicle accidents compared to other states. The study, which examined data from 2010-2014 regarding traffic fatalities for children under 15, found that 35 percent of nationwide fatal crashes happened on state highways while 62 percent were on rural roads. The South had the highest number of deaths during the period of data analysis at 1,550. The total number of deaths was 2,885.

The study identified a wide disparity between states in child fatalities. For example, the highest mortality rate per 100,000 was 3.23 in Mississippi while in Massachusetts, it was .25. The use of seat belts and car seats was significant as well. In 20 percent of the cases, children were not restrained correctly. With a 10 percent increase in the proper use of restraining devices, more than 230 children each year would survive crashes.

One of the researchers pointed to this disparity and the data on restraints to emphasize the importance of strong regulations and laws. Once in place, consistent enforcement of those laws and regulations is critical as well.

The consequences of a car accident may be devastating even if the accident is not fatal. The accident may be caused by another driver who is drunk, distracted by a cell phone, drowsy or careless. For crash victims, medical expenses may mount quickly. If a child is injured, a parent may need to take time off work to care for the child. An attorney might be able to help a victim by negotiating for more compensation from the insurance company or filing a civil lawsuit.

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