We all want to keep our children safe and secure and help them live to their full potential. Knowing how to prevent leading causes of child injury, like road traffic injuries, is a step toward this goal.
Every hour, nearly 150 children between ages 0 and 19 are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes. More children ages 5 to 19 die from crash-related injuries than from any other type of injury.
Thankfully, parents can play a key role in protecting the children they love from road traffic injuries.
Key Prevention Tips
From Birth Until Age 2-4
- Use a Rear-Facing Car seat
- Buckle children in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of their car seat. Keep children rear-facing as long as possible.
After Outgrowing Rear-Facing Seat Until at Least Age 5
- Use a Forward-Facing Car Seat
- When children outgrow their rear-facing car seat, they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of their car seat.
After Outgrowing Forward-Facing Seat and Until Seat Belts Fit Properly
- Use a Booster Seat
- Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, they should be buckled in a booster seat until seat belts fit properly. Proper seat belt fit usually occurs when children are 4 feet 9 inches tall and age 9-12.
Once Seat Belts Fit Properly Without a Booster Seat
- Use a Regular Seat Belt
- Children no longer need to use a booster seat once near seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).
Install and Use Car and Booster Seats Properly
- Install and use car seats and booster seats according to the seat’s owner’s manual or get help installing them from a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.
Seat Children in the Back Seat
Buckle all children aged 12 and under in the back seat.
Don’t Seat Children in Front of an Airbag
Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an air bag.
Seat Children in the Middle of the Back Seat
Buckle children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.
Use Proper Restraints Every Trip
Buckle children in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts on every trip, no matter how short.
Parents and Caregivers: Always Wear a Seat Belt
Set a good example by always using a seat belt themselves.
Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an active air bag. Recommended age ranges for each seat type vary to account for differences in child growth and height/weight limits of car seats and booster seats. Use the car seat or booster seat owner’s manual to check installation and the seat height and weight limits, and proper seat use.
Sign a Driving Agreement.
If you’re a parent of a teen who is learning to drive, sign a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement with your teen to limit risky driving situations, such as having multiple teen passengers and driving at night.
Helmets can Help.
Children should wear an appropriate helmet any time they are on a motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, scooter, or skates.
Source: CDC: www.cdc.gov