Every day in America, too many children ride in car seats that have been installed incorrectly, or are the wrong car seats for their age and size. Other children ride while completely unbuckled. According to the NHTSA, 59 percent of car seats are misused. To help combat the issue, they started raising awareness through Child Passenger Safety Week. It is a campaign dedicated to helping parents and caregivers make sure their children ride as safely as possible, every trip, every time. This year, Child Passenger Safety Week runs September 18 to 24.
Every 33 seconds, a child under 13 is involved in a crash. Using car seats that are age -and size- appropriate is the best way to keep your child safe. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children and car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can make all the difference. In 2014, there were 252 children under 5 saved because they were riding in the correct car seats. Car seats matter, and having the right car seat installed and used the right way is critical.
Too often, parents move their children to the front seat before they should, which increases the risk of injury and death. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seats of cars. Also, according to NHTSA, about 24 percent of children 4 to 7 who should be riding in booster seats were prematurely moved to seat belts, and 9 percent were unbuckled altogether.
NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, he/she should travel in a rear-facing “convertible” or all-in-one car seat. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seats with harness, children should be placed in booster seats until they’re the right size to use seat belts safely.
Always remember to register your car seat and booster seat with the car seat manufacturer so you can be notified in the event of a recall. Parents and caregivers can view more information on car seat safety and locate a certified technician at www.safercar.gov/parents.
Lives lost and injuries
Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts save lives
Car seats work best when used correctly
Child passenger safety laws
During Child Passenger Safety Week, car seat safety checks will be held across the country. We encourage all parents and caregivers to take advantage of this service to make sure their children are in the right car seats for their age and size, and that the seats are installed correctly. To locate an inspection station in your area, visit www.safercar.gov/parents.