Keeping Kids Safe

It’s shocking, but true: Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for children ages 3-14 in the United States.

According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis:

1,347: the number of children age 14 and younger killed in vehicle crashes in 2008

4: the average number of children age 14 and younger killed in the U.S. every day in vehicle crashes

529: the average number of children age 14 and younger injured in the U.S. every day in vehicle crashes

16%: number of those deaths that were a result of alcohol-impaired driving crashes

4-8 p.m.: the time frame with the highest percentage of child pedestrian deaths due to car crashes (43%) in 2008

Yet, in most cases, death and injury is completely preventable—with the proper use of child safety seats and vehicle restraints. In 2008, nearly 200 children ages 5 and younger were saved by vehicle restraints. The key is using child safety seats and restraints on every trip (even if it’s just down the street to the store), and using them properly. A few things to remember:

  • There are four stages of child vehicle restraints.

    1. Stage 1: rear-facing seats
    2. Stage 2: forward-facing toddler seats
    3. Stage 3: booster seats
    4. Stage 4: safety belts.
  • Each stage is determined by the child’s age and weight.
  • Properly installing a safety seat is just as important as choosing the correct restraint for a child’s weight and age. 7 out of 10 child safety seats are improperly installed.
  • Most cities have child safety seat inspection stations where certified technicians check that seats are properly installed.


To learn more about choosing the right restraint, properly installing it and finding a child safety seat inspection station, visit www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS.

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