You’ve no doubt read about the epidemic that is killing kids left and right.  It has spread to everywhere in the USA, Canada and around the globe.  It’s an equal opportunity killer and it doesn’t distinguish among race, sex, income or education level.

Fortunately, there are three types of effective vaccine widely available now.  They are proven to be very effective at reducing fatalities and serious injuries with no side effects.  And, there’s no waiting.  Here’s how to get yours:

1) Put your children age 12 and under in the back seat of your vehicle

2) Make sure your children are in a correctly installed and correctly used child safety seat appropriate for their age and size.

3) Drive undistracted and unimpaired.  No alcohol, drugs, smoking, eating, texting, surfing or personal hygiene.  Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

That’s it!

In 2006, the most recent year for WISQARS data, motor vehicle crashes accounted for the lives of 1689 children between age 1 and 14.  The second leading cause of death, malignant neoplasms, took 1284 lives.    Influenza and Pnuemonia (combined) took the lives of 193 children of those ages, despite the outbreak of the highly publicized avian bird flu (H5N1) that was becoming a pandemic at the time.

It’s too early to tell how many lives will be claimed by the H1N1 virus or how effective the new vaccine will be.  We all hope that it will not be as bad as the government and experts seem to believe.  On the other hand, we do know without a doubt how serious motor vehicle crashes are in terms of injuries and deaths to children.  We also know exactly what to do in order to significantly lower these risks for our kids.

Isn’t it about time that the government and news media spend the same amount of money and attention on this epidemic that kills thousands of kids in North America each and every year in recent memory?  Isn’t it about time that all parents become seriously concerned about this killer and line up for the vaccination that has been readily available for years?

To emphasize the point, clinics to administer a free H1N1 vaccine are appearing nationwide.  Many counties have multiple sites to distribute tens of thousands of doses in the coming weeks and months.  Is your county or city distributing tens of thousands of free child safety seats and/or hosting multiple free clinics to help parents install them?  Did this information appear in TV news head stories, on the front pages of newspapers and in other media?

Back to parent responsibility, would you leave a toddler unsupervised in a bath or near a pool?  Would you leave matches out on a table with an unsupervised 4-year old?  Household cleaners?  What about a handgun?   Hopefully not!  And so, drowning, fires/burns, poisoning and unintentional firearm injuries combined do not amount to the same number of childhood fatalities as motor vehicle crashes.  So, why aren’t parents in general more concerned about how they restrain their kids in cars?  Most parents I know don’t give it much thought at all:-(

Well, if you’re reading this blog, you may well know all this.  So tell your friends again to go look at the numbers themselves and maybe they willl make a visit to their local child passenger safety inspection station right before they go for the H1N1 vaccine.