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Keeping Kids Safe in the Car

We have good news and bad news.

The good news – when it comes to crashes, children are much safer than they used to be. The number of child passenger deaths has declined by more than half since 1975.

The bad news – motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for children. A total of 844 children younger than 13 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2019; nearly three-quarters of these deaths were children riding in passenger vehicles.

Proper restraints play a key role in keeping kids safe in the car.

Proper restraint use can decrease crash fatalities and injuries even more. Appropriate child safety seats provide much more protection in a crash than seat belts alone.

Choose the right restraint for your child’s age and size, and always seat kids in the back.

  • All infants and toddlers should ride rear-facing until they reach the height or weight limit of their child restraints. This may not be until age 2 or older.
  • Once they outgrow rear-facing restraints, children should ride in a harness-equipped forward-facing child restraint until they reach the height or weight limit of the child restraint.
    • Top tethers should be used whenever a child restraint is installed forward-facing.
  • When children outgrow child restraints, they should use belt-positioning booster seats until adult seat belts fit properly.
Source: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety