Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. Each day, an average of five children under age 14 die in traffic accidents. Of those, about half were unrestrained by a seatbelt or car seat at the time of the accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2004 alone, 1,638 children age 14 and under died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes. Studies and surveys have found that seatbelt and car seat use among children often depends on the driver's restraint use.

Safety Tips

  • Every passenger should be properly restrained with a seat belt, child safety seat or booster seat, depending on age and size.
  • Never hold a child on your lap.
  • Children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat.
  • Never ride in the cargo area of a pickup, van or station wagon. Anyone doing so risks being thrown out and severely injured or killed in an accident.
  • Infants should ride in rear-facing car seats in the back seat of the vehicle. Never put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger air bag.
  • Children should remain in a rear-facing car seat until at least age 2 or until a child’s size exceeds the maximum capacity of a convertible car seat.

For local information about child safety seat inspections, visit

For additional information on car seat safety, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics guide to car safety seats at:

For information about child safety seat ease of use, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site and check out the rating guide at: