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Child Safety Seats & Boosters

Vehicle crashes remain the number one killer of children ages 3-14 in the United States.

Child safety seats, booster seats and seat belts are the best protection.

According to the CDC, placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half. But most are being used incorrectly in some way, putting children at risk.

Find the resources here to help children travel safely.


Child Safety Seat Use

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3 out of 4 parents do not properly use child restraints. Often installation is incorrect or the wrong type of seat is being used for the child's height, weight or age. For these children, the safety seat may not be protecting them the way it should.

To help improve the correct installation and use of child safety seats, effective strategies include a combination of parent and caregiver education, certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians, laws and enforcement.




Parent and Caregiver Education

Child Passenger Safety Week is a major education campaign in September each year. NHTSA provides free campaign materials.

NHTSA's Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) campaign educates parents that LATCH makes it easier to install child safety seats. Nearly every car seat and most vehicles manufactured since Sept. 1, 2002 are required to have LATCH. Online videos show how to use the LATCH system.


Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians

Technicians are certified by NHTSA and Safe Kids USA to educate parents about child passenger safety and to ensure seats are installed correctly. Technicians take an intensive course to get training and knowledge to properly install safety seats. Technicians must keep current, earning CEUs to maintain their certification. While many people can educate about keeping children safe in vehicles, it's recommended that only certified technicians do hands-on installation of car seats and booster seats.

The good news is, there are tens of thousands of certified technicians throughout the United States. They helped install over one million car seats over the past 11 years. Technicians can be found through Safe Kids Coalitions, police departments, fire departments and hospitals. Find a technician near you through the Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Locator. Search by ZIP code and state.


Child Passenger Laws

Despite years of parent education and laws, not all children are properly buckled up. While most babies and toddlers are in car seats, the use of child safety seats decreases as children get older. By the time children are big enough for booster seats, less children are properly protected in vehicles.

Although education raises awareness about the benefits of child safety seats and gives parents and caregivers the skills to install seats correctly, laws and enforcement are still needed to help keep children safe. Research shows that use of child restraints is higher where laws exist and are enforced.  

Governors Highway Safety Association maintains current information on state laws regarding child safety seats and booster seats, including fine levels.



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "4 Steps for Kids" explains rear-facing, forward-facing, boosters and seat belts. Learn about LATCH and find child seat Ease-of-Use Ratings.

Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Locator Certified CPS Technicians help ensure seats are correctly installed. Search by ZIP code and state.

Safe Kids USA Safe Kids Buckle Up

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Keeping Kids Safe During Crashes

American Academy of Pediatrics Car Seat Safety 

Safe Ride News

CDC's Child Passenger Safety Resources

Governors Highway Safety Association - Child Safety Seat & Booster Seat State Laws







NSC Research & Statistical Services -- Injury Facts® is a complete reference source for safety statistics. Includes child safety seat and booster seat data. 


NHTSA Fatal Analysis Reporting System National database providing annual data on motor vehicle crash fatal injuries.

NHTSA Traffic Safety Fact Sheets Reports include child passenger injury data and the results of child restraint and booster seat observation studies.

CDC Child Passenger Safety Fact Sheets Find the injury data, lives saved due to safety seats, major risk factors to children in vehicles, and more.

CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Statistics Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), death and injury charts, and more.



Occupant Protection for Children Best Practices Guide

The Community Guide is compiled by the CDC to share effectiveness ratings for common prevention strategies. Discover what works and what doesn't. Visit the Use of Child Safety Seats section.

Identifying Strategies to Reduce the Percentage of Unrestrained Young Children Published by NHTSA in January 2009 to explore factors of non-use of occupant restraints by children age 5-7, most of whom should be using booster seats. Identifies strategies to increase booster seat use.

Countermeasures That Work is a reference guide published by GHSA to share effective, science-based countermeasures for major highway safety problem areas. See the Seat Belt Use and Child Restraints section.

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