Buckle Them Up So They Can Grow Up

Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States but many of these deaths can be prevented. Bucking children in age-and-size appropriate car seats, booster seats and seat belts reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.

The Facts

  • Car seat use reduces the risk for death to infants by 71% and to toddlers by 54% in passenger vehicles
  • Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% for children aged 4-8 years when compared with seat belt use alone
  • For older children and adults, seat belt use reduces the risk for death and serious injury by approximately half
  • Of the children who died in a crash in 2011, 33% were not buckled up

The Right Seat for Your Child

Birth up to Age 2:Rear-facing car seat; buckle children in a rear-facing seat until age 2 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of that seat; check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limit

Age 2 up to at least Age 5:Forward-facing car seat; when children outgrow their rear-facing seat, they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat until at least age 5 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of that seat; check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or lavels on the seat for weight and height limits.

Age 5 up until seat belts fit properly:Booster seat; once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, they should be buckled in a booster seat until seat belts fir properly; the recommended height for proper seat belt fit Is 57 inches tall. Remember to keep children properly buckled in the backseat for the best possible protection.

Once seat belt fits properly without a booster seat:Seat belt; children no longer need to use a booster seat once 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)

Additional Reminders

  • 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
  • Buckle all children aged 12 and under in the backseat
  • Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat
  • Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an airbag
  • Buckle children in the middle of the backseat when possible; it is the safest spot in the vehicle
  • Buckle children in car seats, booster seats and/or seat belts on every trip, no matter how short
  • Set a good example by always using a seat belt