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Child Passenger Safety

Child Passenger Safety Introduction

It is well documented that in the United States, the leading cause of preventable deaths among children results from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. Simply placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats reduces the incidence of these injuries by more than 50%.

One of a parent's primary responsibilities is to protect their children from injury. Nowhere is protection more crucial than in transporting children in motor vehicles.

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death to children of all races.


  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in children 5-14 years of age.


  • Proper use of motor vehicle occupant restraints has been shown to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in car crashes.


  • Here is a historical review of the important events in the evolution of auto occupant safety restraints

    • 1968 - Seat belts installed in front and back seats


    • 1970 - First protective infant car seat


    • 1975 - Car seat use estimated at 5%


    • 1978 - First state passes mandatory child restraint law


    • 1981 - First federal car seat crash test standard


    • 1985 - Child restraint use laws in all 50 states


    • 1985 - Several states pass mandatory seat belt laws
    • .

    • 1998 - Car seat use is estimated at 71%.


    • 1999 - Introduction of universal child restraint systems with standard-nylon tethers prevalent on new car seats


    • 1999 - New web-based resources evolve to raise awareness of child safety issues: "SAFE KIDS: Look How Far We've Come," National Safe Kids Campaign


    • 1975 to 2008 - About 9,000 lives were saved by child restraints.


    • 2008 -  Car seat use is estimated to be > 95% for children under 1 year of age.

Despite these interventions, in 2008 alone, about four children under the age of 14 were killed in motor vehicle accidents every day, with many more injured.





Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Injury Prevention »

Injury is the leading cause of death and disability in children and adolescents.

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