We all want to keep our children safe and secure and help them live to their full potential. Knowing how to prevent leading causes of child injury, like road traffic injuries, is a step toward this goal.
Every hour, nearly 150 children between ages 0 and 19 are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes. More children ages 5 to 19 die from crash-related injuries than from any other type of injury.
Thankfully, parents can play a key role in protecting the children they love from road traffic injuries.
One of the best protective measures you can take is buckling children in car seats, booster seats, and seat belts that are appropriate for their age, height, and weight.
Know the Stages:
- Birth up to Age 2 – Rear-facing car seat. For the best possible protection, infants and children should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat, until age 2 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of their seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
- Age 2 up to at least Age 5 – Forward-facing car seat. When children outgrow their rear-facing seat they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat, in the back seat, until at least age 5 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of their seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
- Age 5 up until seat belts fit properly – Booster seat. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat they should be buckled in a belt positioning booster seats until seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). Remember to keep children properly buckled in the back seat for the best possible protection.
- Once Seat Belts Fit Properly – Children no longer need to use a booster seat once seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). For the best possible protection keep children 12 and under properly buckled in the back seat.
Back Seat is Safest. All children aged 12 and under should be properly buckled in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an air bag. Buckle children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.
Sign a Driving Agreement. If you’re a parent of a teen who is learning to drive, sign a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement with your teen to limit risky driving situations, such as having multiple teen passengers and driving at night. For more information on ways to protect your teen driver visit CDC’s Parents Are they Key campaign.
Helmets can Help. Children should wear an appropriate helmet any time they are on a motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, scooter, or skates.
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