In 2003, 1,591 child occupants ages 14 and under died in motor vehicle crashes,
and more than 200,000 were injured. About 40 percent of motor vehicle occupants
ages 14 and under who were killed in fatal crashes in 2002 were unrestrained.
Child safety seats, when correctly installed and used, reduce the risk of death
by up to 71 percent. While 96 percent of caregivers believe they install and
use child safety seats correctly, studies show that more than 82 percent of all
child safety seats are improperly installed. To make sure you've installed your
children's safety seat correctly and to find a child safety seat inspection station
near you, visit the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Web site.
Canadian Statistics: Between 1997 and 1998, 1,027 children ages 14
and under were hospitalized for motor vehicle occupant injuries. In 1997, 81 children
died in motor vehicle crashes.
Make sure everyone in your family rides in the car safely by following these guidelines:
- Infants should ride in a rear-facing infant seat until they are at least one-year-old
and weigh at least 20 pounds.
- Use a convertible or forward facing safety seat until the child outgrows it
- up to about four and when the child weighs 40 pounds.
- All children who have outgrown child safety seats should be properly restrained
in booster seats until they are at least eight years old, unless they are 4-feet
- All children ages 12 and under should ride buckled up in the back seat.
Adult safety belts alone do not sufficiently protect children weighing less
than 80 pounds from injury in a crash. Children can't ride comfortably and remain
properly restrained until they are tall enough for the knees to bend over the
edge of the seat when their backs are resting firmly against the back seat. If
the shoulder portion of the lap-shoulder belt comes across the neck, rather than
the chest, they should be in a booster seat.
For more information on booster seat safety, visit the Boost
America! Web site.
Make Buckling Up Fun
Weigh your children to determine if they should be riding in a child safety seat,
booster seat, or if they are old enough to use a lap-shoulder belt. Create a fun
chart with each family member's name and weight. This way your family can visually
keep track of car safety needs by weight requirements, whether they should be
using a safety seat, booster seat or lap-shoulder belt. Check and update your
children's weights regularly.
||Do a safety belt check
every time you get in the car. Take turns having your children call everyone's
name in the car. Have each person answer with "check" if they are securely buckled
up in a safety seat, booster seat, or a lap-shoulder belt.
Data Sources: Boost America!, National Center for Injury Prevention
and Control, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National
SAFE KIDS Campaign®, Safe Kids Canada.
Graphic Source: Ford Motor Company's Boost America!