At Work At Home On the Road

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

  • 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

     

    Number of Children Dying in Hot Cars is Soaring this Year

     

    In 2016, as of July 11, 18 young children have died of heatstroke after being left or trapped in vehicles. This is about double the number of children who died this way during the same period last year.

    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 NoHeatStroke.org – 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 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"
    • 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.

  • Exceptional Strides for Child Passenger Safety

    The National Child Passenger Safety Board announced its 2016 Instructor and Technician of the Year. Meet two people working tirelessly to save children's lives by making safety the top priority.

    Meet the Honorees

Using the Correct Car Seat Makes All the Difference

Deaths and injuries can be prevented by using the right car seat. Visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat 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 saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

Sign Up for Newsletter

© National Safety Council. All rights reserved.