Improper Safety Seats, Hot Cars, Teen Driver Error Put Children at Great Risk

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children. In 2015, 1,346 children under age 15 were killed in motor vehicle crashes. That's more than three children every day.

Properly securing children in safety seats goes a long way in keeping them safer. NSC believes child restraint systems should go beyond state requirements, because too often state laws are no match for the laws of physics.

Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 23-29, 2018

To generate awareness about child passenger safety in your community, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created a toolkit of free materials you can download and share with parents and caregivers.

Child Passenger Safety Week culminates with National Seat Check Saturday on Sept. 29. Certified child passenger safety technicians will be available at car seat events nationwide to provide safety tips and car seat installation instructions to parents and caregivers.

Tips on Child Passenger Safety

  • Read the NSC 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 Child Passenger Safety Week
  • 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

Kids and Hot Cars

Dozens of children die every year in hot cars, with incidents peaking between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

  • 87% of children who die are 3 years or younger
  • 54% are forgotten in a vehicle
  • 28% are playing in an unattended vehicle
  • 17% are intentionally left in a vehicle by an adult

Learn more about kids and hot cars.

Vehicle Crashes the No. 1 Killer of Teens

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2015 marked the second year in a row in which the number of teen motor-vehicle occupant fatalities increased; 2,358 teens were killed in 2015 compared to 2,176 in 2014.

Motor-vehicle crashes continue to be the No. 1 cause of death for U.S. teens. The death toll among teens 13 to 19, including pedestrian and bicycle incidents, was 2,715 in 2015 and is equivalent to more than seven deaths per day.

Crashes involving young drivers impact people of all ages. In 2015, the number of people dying in crashes involving at least one young driver totaled 4,702, a 10% increase over 2014. And, young driver fatalities account for less than half of the overall fatalities associated with young driver crashes. In 2015, there were 1,886 young driver fatalities, 975 fatalities among passengers of young drivers, 1,320 fatalities to occupants of all other vehicles and 521 non-occupant fatalities.

Yes, these statistics are frightening. That's why teen driver safety is an NSC initiative. Learn why a teen's biggest 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.

More Child Passenger Safety Resources

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

New Board Members

The National Child Passenger Safety Board appointed six new Board members in 2018.

Meet the Board