According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 150 children between ages 0 and 19 are treated every hour in emergency departments for injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes and more children ages 5 to 19 die from crash-related injuries than from any other type of injury.
One of the best ways to help keep your children safe in vehicles is to know and understand the appropriate age, height and weight limits for car seats, booster seats and seat belt use:
- Birth up to Age 2 – For the best possible protection, infants and children should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat, until age 2 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of their seat.
- Age 2 up to at least Age 5 – When children outgrow their rear-facing seat they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat, in the back seat, until at least age 5 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of their seat.
- Age 5 up until seat belts fit properly – Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat they should be buckled in a belt positioning booster seats until seat belts fit 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).
Back Seat is Safest. All children aged 12 and under should be properly buckled in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an air bag. Buckle children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.