Child Passenger Safety

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children. The latest research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 46% of car seats are misused. The best way to reduce crash fatalities among children is to always select a car seat, belt-positioning booster seat, or lap and shoulder seat belt based on the child’s age and size. Correctly installing a car seat and proper adjustment and fit of the harness or seat belt will improve a child’s safety when traveling. Data from crashes that occurred in 2020 found that more than a third of the children ages 12 and younger who died in cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs were unbuckled. Never let children ride unbuckled—the consequences could be devastating. For information on achieving correct car seat use, attend a car seat check event, follow these and the manufacturer's instructions.

The single most effective way to protect children, and all vehicle occupants, is to correctly buckle them in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt that is appropriate for their age and size. Car seat check events provide hands-on guidance on the correct selection, installation and use of the appropriate car seat, booster seat, or seat belt based on a child’s age, weight, height, and developmental needs. To locate a car seat check/fitting station click here. Car seat check events are also listed at www.pakidstravelsafe.org under Events. If caregivers click ‘Fitting stations’ they can search by county for a car seat technician near them.

Best practice is for all vehicle passengers to be secured in a car seat, belt-positioning booster seat, or seat belt that is appropriate for their size. Parents and caregivers are role models for children and by wearing a seat belt, children learn the importance of buckling up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found when a driver is buckled, children are restrained 92% of the time and conversely when the driver is unbuckled, children are restrained about 68% of the time.

From PA Traffic Injury Prevention Project, PA Chapter - American Academy of Pediatrics 9-2022