Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%, but about 73% of car seats are not installed correctly.
Choosing the correct car seat for your child is complicated. Infant, convertible, booster, rear-facing, front-facing: Which is correct for a child's age and weight? When are they ready for a seat belt?
Tips on Child Passenger Safety
A child between the ages of 8 and 14 is injured every 8 minutes in a car crash, according to NHTSA. Here are some tips for keeping your children safe:
- If you're pregnant,
schedule a car seat installation with a certified child passenger safety technician before the child is born
- Children should ride in the back seat at least through age 12
- If your kids complain about wearing seat belts, don't negotiate; don't drive off until they buckle up
- Always be consistent and wear your seat belt; driver safety belt use strongly influences whether your child will buckle up
- All 50 states require child seats with specific criteria; here is a
list of child passenger safety laws by state
- The life of a car seat is from six to eight years; recalls for child seat manufacturers for the past 10 years
can be found here
- Air bags can save the lives of older children and adults, but they can be fatal for young children;
learn more here
NSC Reminds Caregivers to Tune In to the Back Seat
The image on an
Arkansas news website captures the precious face of a little boy. But that smiling 18-month-old won't get a chance to grow up. He died after his father, a Circuit Court judge, forgot him in the car in July 2014.
In May that year, in Florida,
a 16-month-old girl died after her father, a public defender, forgot to take her to daycare; outside temperatures were "relatively cool" at the time, according to a CNN article.
2-year-old girl in Dallas also died in July 2014 after her parents forgot her in the back seat after a family outing.
The stories seem endless. About 37 children die each year this way, according to
NoHeatStroke.org. We hear these stories and think, "Why does this keep happening?"
It's Usually Unintentional
In the majority of cases of child heatstroke fatality – 53% – parents simply
forgot their child was in the car, according to NoHeatStroke.org. Babies sleep soundly, and parents are stressed, rushing to get to work or driving on autopilot, not tuned in to a new schedule or change of routine. These horrendous incidents happen to people from all walks of life.
Learn about one father's experience and what he is doing to raise awareness of vehicular heat stroke.
It's Always Preventable
New car seat technology is available that will sound an alarm after the driver turns off the car, reminding him or her that a child is in the back seat.
SaferCar.gov offers other suggestions for keeping your precious cargo safe:
- Keep a stuffed animal in the child's seat, then move it to the front seat after you strap your child in as a visual reminder
- If your daily routine changes, always make sure your child has arrived at his destination safely
- Make sure daycare providers know to call parents or relatives if the child does not arrive
- Never leave a child alone in a car; use drive-through services and pay at the pump so you won't be tempted to leave the child "just for a moment"
children overheat four times faster than adults; a child is likely to die when his body temperature reaches 107 degrees, and that can happen in minutes
- Even in 70-degree weather a vehicle can reach life-threatening temperatures quickly; regardless of the outside temperature, the
average increase in temperature inside a vehicle is 3.2 degrees per five-minute interval
- If you ever see a child alone in a car, call 911 immediately
- If you see a child is in distress, remove the child from the vehicle;
most states have Good Samaritan laws
In 2013, 4,333 crash fatalities involved young drivers ages 15 to 20. Motor vehicle crashes remain the No. 1 cause of death for US teens, and the fatality rate for young drivers is more than three times higher than for all drivers.
Yes, these statistics are frightening. That's why teen driver safety is a National Safety Council initiative, and we have lots of information that can help.
Start here to learn why a teen's biggest safety threat is sitting on the driveway and what you can do to protect your child – from having them sign a safe-driving contract to signing up for a Weekly Digital Driving Coach.