A study that appeared recently in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention tracked the incidence and frequency of nontraffic-related injuries and fatalities (those that occur primarily in driveways and parking lots) to children in and around motor vehicles.

It is reportedly the first study that includes all types of nontraffic-related vehicular dangers to young children.

In the study, researchers from Brown University tracked instances of nontraffic-related injuries and fatalities in the United States to children 0-14 years that occurred between 1990-2014 using a compilation of sources including media reports, individual accounts from victims and their families, medical examiner reports, police reports, child death review teams, coroner reports, medical professionals, lawyers and various modes of publications.

The information was compiled in a database that was developed and maintained by KidsandCars.org, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping children safe in and around motor vehicles, per a media release from Brown University.

During the time period analyzed, the researchers found that there were more than 11,750 distinct incidents in a variety of venues and vehicles affecting 14,568 children 14 years and younger, resulting in nearly 3,400 deaths of which 47% of whom were male, and with an average age of 42 months, the release notes.

“While we have made great progress in reducing injuries to children in motor vehicle crashes, this study describes the burden of nontraffic incidents and deaths to children 14 years old and younger over a 25-year period, including: children left in hot vehicles, backovers, frontovers, and other mechanisms,” says Dr Mark Zonfrillo, a pediatric emergency medicine physician and injury researcher from Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and lead author of the study, in the release.

“These nontraffic incidents present an important and often underreported threat to the safety and lives of young children, and are completely preventable” he adds.

“These issues have been masked for decades by the age-old problem of, no data; no problem. Once thought of and referred to as ‘freak accidents,’ this study reveals just how common nontraffic incidents really are,” states Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org, in the release.

“Continued education, engineering modifications, advocacy, and legislation can help continue to prevent these incidents and must be incorporated into overall child vehicle safety initiatives,” she suggests.

[Source(s): Brown University, Science Daily]