Child Passenger Safety
In 2003, 1,591 child occupants ages 14 and under died in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 200,000 were injured. About 40 percent of motor vehicle occupants ages 14 and under who were killed in fatal crashes in 2002 were unrestrained.
(Source of info: http://www.nfpa.org/RiskWatch/parent_vehicle.html)
For maximum child passenger safety, follow the 4 Stages for Kids:
Birth – 12 months
Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat.
There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
1 – 3 years
Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
4 – 7 years
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
8 – 12 years
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for age group 2 to 14
In 2006, there were nearly 61 million children age 14 and younger in the United States. This age group made up 20 percent of the total U.S. resident population in 2006. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for the age group 2 to 14 years old (based on 2004 figures, which are the latest mortality data currently available from the National Center for Health Statistics).
In 2006, there were a total of 42,642 traffic fatalities in the United States. The 14 and younger age group accounted for 4 percent (1,794) of those traffic fatalities. This age group accounted for 4 percent (1,335) of all vehicle occupant fatalities, 8 percent (208,000) of all the people injured in motor vehicle crashes, and 7 percent (184,000) of all the vehicle occupants injured in crashes. Every day in the United States, an average of 5 children age 14 and younger were killed and 568 were injured in motor vehicle crashes during 2006. In the 14 and under age group, males accounted for 55 percent of the fatalities and 49 percent of those injured in motor vehicle crashes during 2006. (Source of info: NHTSA)
Child safety seats, when correctly installed and used, reduce the risk of death by up to 71 percent. While 96 percent of caregivers believe they install and use child safety seats correctly, studies show that more than 82 percent of all child safety seats are improperly installed.
Click here to find out where to get a free car seat check/ inspection.
Visit USA Safe Kids for tools that parents and caregivers can use to help reduce the risk of injury and death to children who ride in vehicles.
Download Child Passenger Safety Information