Child Passenger Safety

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the number one cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 13. With proper use of car seats, booster seats and safety belts, many deaths and injuries can be prevented. The NHTSA’s recent Child Passenger Safety Week campaign was targeted at parents and caregivers. Their Wizard of Oz themed public service announcements encouraged adults to make sure they had age and size-appropriate car seats for their younger passengers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers helpful guidelines for parents and caregivers regarding car seats, booster seats and safety belts.

Child Passenger Safety Facts

• Car seats reduce the likelihood of an infant being killed in a car crash by 71 percent.
• From 2007 to 2011, 3,661 children were killed in car wrecks.
• An estimated 634,000 children were injured in car crashes during that time.
• In 2011, on average, nearly two children under the age of 13 were killed in car crashes every day.
• Additionally, 338 children under the age of 13 were injured in car wrecks everyday in 2011.
• More than one third of children killed in car wrecks in 2011 were not in car seats or wearing seat belts.

The CDC’s Child Passenger Safety Guidelines

Birth up to Age 2

Newborn babies up to two years of age should always be in rear-facing car seats in the back seat. This offers the best possible protection to infants and small children.

Age 2 up to at Least Age 5

Children who are between the ages of two and five need to have age and size-appropriate forward-facing car seats. The seats should still be put in the back seat. Children should always be properly harnessed in with the seat belt buckled safely
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Age 5 up to at Least Age 9

Booster seats are for children between the ages of five and nine. Once a child reaches the upper height and weight limits of a car seat, it’s time to move to a booster seat. Safety belts should be properly buckled, and children are still safest when riding in the back seat.

Children Who Are at Least 57 inches Tall

Children who are at least 57 inches tall are ready for safety belts. Belts should fit snuggly across the upper thighs and chest area. A seat belt should never go across the stomach or neck of a child. Children should continue riding in the backseat, as this is the safest location in most automobiles.

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