More than a third of children and teens in America are living in vehicles, but the number of people injured or killed by children in vehicles has gone up in recent years, according to a new report from the advocacy group Kids Can Ride.
The report released Thursday shows that in 2015, an estimated 1,100 people were killed in crashes involving children in cars, a number that includes drivers who did not stop or pull over to avoid a crash.
The number of fatal crashes involving the vehicle is higher than in any other year, the report found.
The rise in crashes with children in the vehicle comes amid a national trend of parents and others wanting to reduce the risk of children being hurt or killed in cars.
The new report found that children ages 13 to 17 accounted for roughly 10 percent of all vehicle crashes in the United States in 2015.
That’s the highest percentage of children under 13 that the U.S. has seen in almost a decade, the group said.
The National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization that tracks vehicle safety, estimates that there are roughly 30 million vehicles on the road.
“There is a real disconnect,” said Susan E. Daley, a policy analyst for Kids Can Riding.
“People are scared, and people are afraid of the consequences.”
The group is calling for a comprehensive nationwide program to address safety concerns in the car.
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime reported in 2015 that more than 1,800 children under 12 had died in crashes that involved a vehicle in the past year.
In 2015, the crash was the seventh most dangerous in a year.
The group also found that the death rate for children ages 4 to 17 increased from 2.3 to 2.8 per 100,000 children.
About 1.6 percent of those fatalities involved children in their own vehicles, according the report.
The national number of crashes involving toddlers and preschoolers dropped from about 1,500 in 2013 to 810 in 2015 as more parents began to opt out of driving, according with the group.
“We know from our research that people want to avoid being in a car, but it’s a problem,” said Dr. Peter Schumacher, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who has worked to educate parents about the risks of children in car crashes.
“The fact that we have a decrease in those kids who are in the child safety net is really shocking.”
Daley said parents should be educated about how to safely navigate the car, including the importance of stopping at red lights, slowing down at stoplights and changing lanes.
“If a child is not getting out of a car safely, then it doesn’t make sense to drive,” she said.
“It’s a bad idea to drive while a child’s in the seat.”
Parents and others who want to help children safety in cars have been pushing to make car safety education more prominent.
Parents and advocates have pushed for state laws that would require child safety seats be installed in all new cars and make it mandatory for children to wear seat belts.
And some states have introduced legislation that would give states more power to decide how to enforce seat belt laws.
The legislation is backed by automakers including Ford, General Motors, Hyundai and Toyota.
In December, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued guidelines that require all children in a vehicle with passengers to be strapped into the back seat, even if they are younger than 6.
That includes cars equipped with rear-facing front seats.
In addition, a federal law requires parents and other drivers to wear child safety helmets.
In April, the Department of Transportation said it would revise the rules for children under 6 in vehicles to include a child safety seat, making it mandatory in most vehicles.
“I am really encouraged by the trend that is happening with parents who want kids to be safer in their cars,” said Daley.
“Parents have always had a role in children safety, but there is a disconnect between parents and the community at large.
This is a huge opportunity to bridge that gap.”
The new study also found the number and severity of crashes increased from 2014 to 2015.
The average number of children killed in vehicles fell from nearly 11,000 to 9,800 between 2015 and 2015, and there was a slight increase in crashes where there were no injuries or deaths.
“Safety in the most important way is a critical concern for all Americans,” Daley added.
“Children should be in vehicles with them and be able to travel safely, but we need to do a better job of creating a safe environment for all children.”
The research comes as lawmakers are drafting legislation to increase safety standards for children and their vehicles.
A new bill introduced in Congress would require all new vehicles built before 2021 to have child safety belts installed, a measure that the House of Representatives is expected to take up in the coming days.
That legislation has not yet been introduced in the Senate, where lawmakers are likely to be more skeptical about requiring child safety harnesses.
It has also been stalled in the House Transportation Committee. The Senate