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 using seat belts, child safety seats, and booster seats that are appropriate for your child’s age and weight.
Know the Stages:
- Birth up to Age 2 – Rear-facing car seat. For the best possible protection, infants and children should be kept in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat buckled with the seat’s harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual for weight and height limits.
- Age 2 up to at least Age 5 – Forward-facing car seat. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats they should ride in forward-facing car seats, in the back seat buckled with the seat’s harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual for weight and height limits.
- Age 5 up to at least Age 9 – Booster seat. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (by reaching the upper height and weight limits of their seat), they should ride in belt positioning booster seats. Remember to keep children in the back seat for the best possible protection.
- Once Seat Belts Fit Properly – Children should use booster seats until adult 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 fits across the chest (not the neck). The recommended height for proper seat belt fit is 57 inches tall. For the best possible protection keep children in the back seat and use lap-and-shoulder belts.
Back Seat is Safest. All children aged 12 under should ride in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an air bag. Place 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.
Helmets can Help. Children should wear an appropriate helmet any time they are on a motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, scooter, or skates.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
4770 Buford Hwy, NE
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- Contact CDC–INFO