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Improper Safety Seats, Hot Cars, Teen Driver Error all put Children at Risk

Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 18-24

  • There is no better time than National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 18-24, to raise awareness about the importance of proper use of car seats, booster seats and seat belts.

    Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children. On average, two children under age 13 were killed and 308 were injured every day in 2014.

    National Safety Council has outlined important passenger safety steps in its Child Restraint Position Statement released in August. We are asking parents and caregivers to read the position statement and learn how to properly secure children – not only in cars, but across multiple modes of transportation.

    NSC believes child restraint systems should go beyond state requirements, because too often, state laws are no match for the laws of physics.

    Tips on Child Passenger Safety

    • Read the National Safety Council position statement on child restraints, which addresses child passenger safety among multiple modes of transportation
    • Take advantage of car seat safety checks held nationwide during National Seat Check Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
    • 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, but too often, state laws don't go far enough
    • 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


    Number of Children Dying in Hot Cars is Soaring this Year


    In 2016, as of Aug. 30, 28 young children have died of heatstroke after being left or trapped in vehicles. This is four more child heatstroke deaths than the total number for all of 2015.

    The image on a Texas news website captures the face of a 3-year-old boy found dead June 16 in a hot car in Houston after becoming trapped in a vehicle with child locks.

    On June 18, 3-year-old twins died after they were found in a pickup truck outside their home in Louisiana, according to a local news source.

    On June 21, police said a Texas father fell asleep and forgot his 6-month-old daughter in a van outside his home. She was found unresponsive more than three hours later – the third such fatality in the state of Texas this year.

    The stories seem endless. Dozens of children die each year this way, according to – in DesMoines, in Baton Rouge, in upstate New York and North Carolina – all over the United States. 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 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. 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"
    • Remember, 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

    Young Drivers

    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.

NSC Position Statement

NSC is calling for uniform child passenger safety practices on school buses, airplanes and in vehicles. Learn the important steps you can take to ensure children are safe on every trip.

Read the Statement

Accepting Nominations

The National Child Passenger Safety Board is accepting nominations for the 2017 Child Passenger Safety Tech and Instructor of the Year awards. NCPSB, a program managed by the National Safety Council, recognizes one outstanding child passenger safety technician and one exemplary instructor each year. Each winner will receive $500 from AAA, as well as travel support to the national Lifesavers Conference.

Learn More

Using the Correct Car Seat Makes All the Difference

Deaths and injuries can be prevented by using the right car seat. Visit to know what is appropriate for the age and size of your child.

A Promise to Payton

Learn what drives this father to raise awareness of vehicular heat stroke.

National Safety Council Mission

The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

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