Children, and especially new-borns, should not be among these figures. Regrettably, however, babies can also be involved in traffic accidents. The consequences of these accidents depend on whether they are correctly secured or not, or whether they are using the most suitable child restraint system. Although we tend to think that there can be no safer place for a new-born baby than its mother's or father's lap, when you're traveling by car this can be the very worst position of all.
In 2015, a total of five children under one year old died in traffic accidents on interurban roads, six sustained injuries that required hospitalization, and 208 were slightly injured. To these figures we need to add one fatality, six serious injuries and 247 minor injuries in accidents on city roads, as shown in the Accident Statistics Yearbook 2015 of the Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) (Spanish).
In many cases, these tragedies happen because babies were not sitting in a child restraint system or, if they were, it was not being used correctly. In order to make people more aware of the importance of using child restraint systems - and using them correctly - the Spanish Midwives' Federation (FAME) and Fundación MAPFRE are publicizing a guide with advice on traveling safely with small children. The guide is entitled "Keeping babies and children safe in cars. Child seats for vehicles" (Spanish) and contains specific advice on how children should travel in cars from the moment they are born until the time they can officially use the car's own seat belts.
In addition, Fundación MAPFRE has launched a draw for ten Group 0+ Pebble child seats by Bébé Confort among people who fill out a simple questionnaire. The idea is to gather in-depth information on the age of child restraint systems to help us continue to improve the safety of our youngest passengers. You can check out the rules for the draw here (Spanish).
The campaign ends on 31 December 2016 and the draw will be held on 15 January 2017 before the Notary of Madrid.
New-borns on laps
What might happen if you fail to put your new-born baby straight into the appropriate child restraint system as soon as you leave the hospital? This was one of the points that Fundación Mapfre wanted to explore in its dossier on Children's Road Safety in Cars in Spain and Latin America 2016, which shows the consequences of failing to ensure that children travel in cars correctly.
For example, a crash test was conducted with a dummy simulating a baby traveling on its mother's lap in the front passenger seat. The adult dummy was wearing a seat belt.
The video shows how the adult's head hits the baby's head which, in turn, smashes against the car's dashboard. You can clearly see how the consequences of traveling in this way with a child can be fatal.
You should always bear in mind that new-born babies are much more fragile, especially in the cervical area. For this reason, the safest way for children to travel in cars, up to the age of at least four, although we recommend you continue for as long as possible, is rear-facing.
In both our Guide and our section on "Transporting a new-born baby" you will find useful advice for traveling safely with small children.
We also recommend you take a look at our infographic "How to travel by car with premature or low-weight babies".