When it comes to crashes, children are much safer than they used to be. The rate of motor vehicle crash deaths per million children younger than 13 is less than a quarter of what it was in 1975. The rate at which children die as passenger vehicle occupants has decreased 60 percent, while the rates at which they are killed as pedestrians and bicyclists are each about one-tenth of 1975 rates.
Proper restraint use can reduce crash deaths and injuries even more. Appropriate child safety seats provide significantly more protection in a crash than safety belts alone.
Choose the right restraint for your child’s age and size, and always seat kids in the rear.
- All infants and toddlers should ride rear-facing until they are 2 years old or until they reach the height and weight limit of their child restraints.
- Once they outgrow rear-facing restraints, children should ride in a harness-equipped forward-facing child restraint for as long as possible, up to the height and weight limit of the child restraint. Top tethers should be used whenever a child restraint is installed forward-facing.
- When children outgrow child restraints, they should use belt-positioning booster seats until adult safety belts fit properly.
Kids in the car? Our booster seat ratings help take the guesswork out of choosing a booster that will provide good safety belt fit for typical 4 to 8 year-olds.
Keeping children safe in crashes
Hundreds of children 12 and younger die in passenger vehicle crashes every year, and tens of thousands are injured. Parents can reduce the risk by properly securing their children in the back seat. This video and fact sheet, also available as a brochure, help parents choose the right kind of restraint for a child's age and size and provide general information on installation and use. The fact sheet also is available in Spanish.