Child Passenger Safety - Know The Facts!

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. In 2000, motor vehicle crashes took the lives of more than 2,000 child passengers 15 years and younger and injured another 327,500. Of the children fatally injured, more than two-thirds were not in age-appropriate restraints or were completely unrestrained.

Just look at the stats! Seat restraints prevent injury and save lives. We ask everyone to buckle up and be happy you did.

  • Motor vehicles continue to be the leading cause of death among children in the United States.


  • In the U.S., 2,062 child passengers ages 0-15 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2000, and 327,500 sustained injuries requiring treatment in an emergency department.


  • Many of these injuries could have been prevented. In 2000, more than two-thirds of the children fatally injured were not in age appropriate restraints or were completely unrestrained. Child safety seats reduce the risk of death by about 70% for infants and 55% for toddlers and infants. Booster seats decrease injuries for children 4-8 years of age when compared with seat belt use alone. For children 9 years and older, seat belts reduce their risk of death by about 50%.


  • Observational studies have found that fewer than 10% of 5-8 year olds use booster seats, the recommended safety seat for this age group.


  • All children ages 12 years and younger should ride in the back seat. This eliminates the injury risk of deployed front passenger-side airbags and places the child in the safest part of the vehicle in the event of a crash. Riding in the back seat is associated with a 46% reduction in the risk of fatal injury in cars with a front passenger-side airbag and at least a 30% reduction in the risk of fatal injury in cars with no front passenger-side airbag.


  • A 2000 telephone survey found that 24% of children ages 0-12 years, rode in the front seat at least half the time. And unfortunately, as children became older they were increasingly likely to ride in the front seat.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov)
Last Editorial Review: 10/8/2002




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