Safety advocates pushing for zero fatalities this school year

LAS VEGAS -- Last year, the number of children taken to University Medical Center trauma rose for the first time in five years.

Experts say the hospital is on track to be even more crowded this year and soon thousands of students will be facing new dangers with the start of the school year.

School is considered one of the safest places for children but getting there can be dangerous.

A corner of UMC's trauma center is where children are taken first. The equipment is smaller and it is where doctors and nurses see some of the worst injuries imaginable.

Chief of Staff Dr. Dale Carrison says children not buckled in are more than twice as likely to be killed or suffer severe injuries. He says if parents could see what he sees they'd make sure their kids are strapped in correctly.

"It ripped the child's arm off, and that could not be replaced. So those are the type of injuries. When the belt is inappropriate it can be over the liver and then we have a liver laceration and those can be life threatening," Dr. Carrison said.

Experts say younger children need to be in a car seat positioned in the middle back seat.

They should face the rear until they are 2 years old and stay in a car seat until they are 8 years old and 80 pounds.

Kids should not make the jump into the front passenger seat until they are 13 years old.

"To be honest it's not a height and weight thing, it is an age thing. The thing is kids at that age don't have mature bones like us adults. So it doesn't matter height and weight, their bodies can't take the impact that an adult body can," car seat technician Erica Nansen said.

Carrison and other leaders in the Safe Community Partnership are hoping for zero deaths this school year.

"Soon we are going to have over 300,000 students hitting the streets for the first day of school. We want to make sure they are aware, looking both ways and slowing down," Nansen said.

Carrison says common sense goes a long way.

"When you see children that should be properly restrained and they are not, it is a tragedy. There is simply no excuse for it," Dr. Carrison said.

Detective Rainey say there are other dangers like predators looking for children alone at bus stops.

He says the safest thing to do is to wait with your child at the bus stop or make sure they are in a group.


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