Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children 13 and under. That means it’s essential for parents to take care to protect children while riding in vehicles. Using the proper car seat or booster, insisting on seat belt use, and taking other steps to make your car safer for children.
- Use a car seat correctly every time: Car seats can reduce the risk of death for children in motor vehicles by as much as 71 percent. Parents should choose the right sized car seat or booster seat for children and get help with installation to ensure they’re using it safely each time. Visit our Ultimate Car Seat Safety Guide to learn more about properly using car seats.
- Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag: Air bags inflate instantly after a crash and come out at a high rate of speed. They come out so fast that they can injure or even kill children if they are too close to the air bag. This makes it especially dangerous for babies in rear facing seats, as their head and neck are so close to the air bag.
- Place children 12 and under in the back seat: Even older children can be at risk in the front seat. They have weaker muscles and larger heads, which can case a problem when an air bag explodes. You should always put children in the back seat whenever possible.
- Never leave children unattended in a vehicle: Leave your children unattended in your car, and anything could happen. Your car could be stolen with them inside, it could be involved in an accident. They could get out of the car and go missing, they could be abducted. You might even forget you left them in the car while the temperature becomes dangerous (or even deadly) hot or cold.
- Activate child locks: Children can get curious and open doors — even opening them while you’re driving, creating a dangerous situation. Switch on child locks so that they can’t open the door from the inside without your help.
- Don’t let kids eat in the car: Eating in the car is something that many busy families do, but it’s a bad idea from a safety standpoint. Children are more likely to choke on foods while eating in the car, as a vehicle in motion could cause foods to lodge in their throat. This is especially true if they’re unsupervised in the back seat. Can’t avoid eating in the car? Only let kids eat soft foods that you know they can eat safely.