Seat Belts and Car Seats
- In the U.S. in 2013, 683 children under the age of 12 were killed in motor vehicle accidents.
- Over 127,250 children were seriously injured in car accidents in the U.S. in 2013.
- 38% of the children killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2013 were not wearing a seat belt.
How effective are car seats and seat belts?
- Car seats reduce the risk of death to infants under 1 year by 71%.
- Car seats reduce the risk of death to toddlers aged 1-4 by 54%.
- Booster seats reduce the risk of injury for children aged 4-8 by 45%.
- For older children and adults, seat belts reduce the risk of injury and death by approximately 50%.
The 4 Stages of a Car Seat
- Infant to 2 Years: Infants and young toddlers should be seated in a rear-facing seat in the back seat until aged 2, or until they reach the upper weight or height limits of a front-facing car seat. Height and weight limits can be found on the car seat’s label or owner’s manual. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of the car as the airbag can cause serious injury if it deploys.
- 2 Years to at least 5 Years: Use a front-facing car seat buckled in the back seat until they reach the upper weight or height limits of a booster seat. Height and weight limits can be found on the booster seat’s label or owner’s manual. Do not place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of the car.
- 5 Years until Seat Belt Fits: When children exceed the weight and height limit of a front-facing car seat, they should be placed in a belt positioning booster seat until the seat belt fits properly.
- When the Seat Belt Fits: The seat belt fits properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt lays across the chest. The belt should not lay across the stomach or the neck. Children should remain buckled in the back seat until age 12, or until they reach the height and weight requirements of the front seat.
Hot Car Safety Tips
- In warmer days, the interior of a car can increase by 30 or 40 degrees. 70% of this increase happens within the first 30 minutes.
- If children (or pets) are left in the car, they can risk getting a heat stroke. Symptoms include dizziness, disorientation, confusion, loss of consciousness, and/or death.
- Over 700 U.S. children have died in hot vehicles since 1990.
Tips for Preventing Hot Car Deaths
- Check the backseat before you leave the car: Check the entire backseat even if you think you did not bring your child with you.
- Keep something you need in the backseat: Keep your purse, wallet, phone, or a shoe in the back seat. This will remind you to check the backseat.
- Keep keys away from children: To prevent children from entering a hot car, hide your keys and lock the doors so they do not have access to the inside of the car.
- If you see a child alone in a hot car: Call 911. Remember the make of the car, the color of the car, and write down the license plate number.
For more information on car seat safety, visit http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html.
For more information on hot car deaths and safety info, visit http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/hot-cars-and-child-death-prevention.