Five Children Die Each Day in Car Crashes

0127636-R1-052-24A_2I heard about this on NPR yesterday morning, and I’ve been obsessively thinking about it ever since.

About five children die everyday in car accidents.

The NPR story emphasizes that some of these deaths could be averted if American children stayed rear facing for longer.

Even if you have a toddler, it’s safer for her to face backwards.

Apparently in Sweden children as old as four face backwards in their car seats.

But even if your child is safely buckled, you can’t avoid the fact that driving is dangerous.

My friend Vicky’s son Nate died in a car crash. My friend R.’s son died when he was hit by a car. My friend Melissa’s husband died in a car crash and left her to raise three young sons by herself. When my husband was little, he was in a head-on collision. He and his mom survived but he watched the other driver die before his eyes.

What if we all tried to keep our kids out of the car as much as we could?

What if we all tried not to drive?

What if we traded our cars for bicycles?

What if we walked? Umbrella in hand if it’s raining?

I don’t want anyone ever to die in a car accident. Especially not children. I know it’s crazy and you’ll call me unrealistic and there are a million reasons why we all have to drive but let’s just leave our cars parked from now on. Open the driver’s door, think of my friend Vicky’s son who will never go to college, never get married, and never laugh with his mom again, close the car door, and walk to where you need to go.

I want you to be safe. I want your children to be safe. I want mine to be safe too.

My friend Roanna once asked me in a truly perplexed tone, “Why don’t you ever use your car?” We do use our car. James just took it to drive out of town. But we’ve been trying to use it less and less.

It helps that there are six of us but our car only seats five.

The real reason I’m trying to keep my family out of the car? I’m terrified one of us will become a statistic.


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on Friday, December 10th, 2010 at 5:15 am and is filed under social change.
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