Children are among the most at-risk persons in society when it comes to personal injuries. They are not only more likely than adults to sustain injuries, but those injuries are often more severe, and even fatal. Children are less capable of protecting themselves from injuries, making decisions that will prevent injuries, and then, respond to injuries when they occur.
The one thing that kids have going for them is that they can frequently recover from injuries and even cope with the stress of injuries more easily than people who are older. They may miss school, but they don’t have to worry about lost wages. They have adults to care for them as they recover, to provide their meals and medications, and to help them through the various challenges that are associated with recovering from a serious injury.
Because children are so vulnerable to becoming seriously injured, it is up to the adults in their lives to take all necessary precautions and safety measures to protect them. Further, in case an injury does occur, there should be adults nearby to respond to it, and children should be taught about what they need to do in an emergency. The quicker an adult is able to respond to a serious injury, the better off the child will be. Following are some of the most common childhood injuries that we encounter at Remington & Dixon PLLC.
Auto Accident Injuries to Children as Passengers
Auto accident injuries are among the most common of personal injuries sustained by both children and adults. Children, however, face hazards that are unique to them, because of their size and position within the vehicle. For example, a small child in the front passenger seat could easily be harmed by an airbag or the shoulder strap of their seatbelt. An even smaller child who is not properly restrained in a car seat could easily be thrown from the vehicle. Many adults don’t even realize that they aren’t using a car seat correctly until it is too late.
Children should sit in the back seat because this is the safest place for them. They should be properly buckled into a car seat or booster seat, with the seat upgraded periodically to accommodate their growth and increased weight. Adults should read all instructions on a car seat or booster seat and follow them exactly, including the weight restrictions.
Child Injuries at Daycare Facilities
Many children go to daycare facilities while their parents work. A lot of parents wish that this wasn’t necessary, and do their best to ensure that they choose a high-quality daycare provider. The trouble is that the daycare facilities that have the highest ratings also have the longest waiting lists and the most children in their care. This can result in a situation where there are not enough adults to provide the best of care to each child. Daycare injuries can be caused by neglect or abuse, but they can also be caused by the same things that might cause an injury anywhere else. Even the best of daycare facilities cannot prevent all accidents.
Child Injuries From Playground Equipment
A playground is filled with fun activities and opportunities for children to exercise and enjoy themselves. It is also filled with opportunities to sustain a variety of injuries. In some cases, these injuries occur through the ordinary use of playground equipment that is properly installed and maintained. For example, a child could fall from the monkey bars or a swing even if he is using them correctly and the equipment is in excellent condition. There are also injuries that result from playground equipment that is not properly installed or maintained, such as a child falling when the chain on a swing breaks or detaches. If the playground doesn’t have a soft material for falling children to land on, then falling injuries can be even more severe.
Injuries to Children from Swimming Pool Accidents
A swimming pool can be located in a variety of different places, which will affect the safety and liability issues that are involved when injuries occur. There may be a swimming pool at your house, at a neighbor’s house, at an apartment complex, or at another public location. It is essential for swimming pools to be secured with fences to prevent accidents to children who might wander in. It is also extremely important for children to be supervised when they are swimming with permission. Many public pools will have signs stating that you are swimming at your own risk, that there is no lifeguard, and that children cannot be there without the supervision of an adult. Still, these pools have to be well maintained to ensure that they are clean, that there are no defects to any suction tubes, and that the pool area is free of slip and trip hazards. Anyone who owns a swimming pool on private property must take precautions to prevent child trespassers from entering the area, as a pool is considered to be an attractive nuisance, and the trespassing laws that apply to adults are not the same for children.
Defective Product Injuries to Children
Children are also at risk for defective product injuries, particularly involving toys. There are so many toys being designed, manufactured, and sold, all the time, that it is impossible for all of them to be perfectly safe. In fact, there are frequent recalls taking place for defective toys, and parents don’t always know that the toys their children are playing with are unsafe or have been recalled. It is not just toys that pose a risk to children, either. Children can be harmed by defective beds and cribs, defective child seats, and defective toddler cups, for example.
Dog Bite and Animal Attack Injuries to Children
Children are also among the most at risk for serious injuries from dog bites and animal attacks. This is, in part, because children are smaller and less able to defend themselves. It is also, in part, due to the fact that children don’t always make the best decisions around animals. A child might approach a strange dog without any thought to the potential danger. They are less able to identify the warning signs of a dangerous pet. They might not realize that a dog is behaving aggressively. If a child has only ever had positive interactions with dogs, then it may never occur to her that this particular dog might not be safe.
The Rule of Sevens in Child Injury Cases
The Rule of Sevens in North Carolina child injury cases refers to the laws associated with a child’s age. Specifically, any child who is under the age of seven is not capable of legal negligence. In other words, they cannot be accused of contributing to their injuries through negligent behaviors, even if the same behaviors would be considered negligence for an adult. An example might be trespassing onto a property with a swimming pool or with an aggressive dog. A child under the age of seven cannot be held responsible for these actions. Between the ages of seven and fourteen, a child is presumed to be innocent of negligence, but it is possible to argue against this. Once the child is over fourteen years old, they are expected to behave in a reasonable manner, by not trespassing, for example, and not provoking a pet. For cases involving children at this age, they can be barred from recovery due to contributory negligence.
To learn more about personal injury claims involving children, and how to recover compensation, call Remington & Dixon, PLLC, to schedule a free consultation.