Although the number of crash-related fatalities for children has steadily decreased since 1975, motor vehicle crashes remains one of the leading causes of death for children. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that, on average, six children under the age of 15 were killed and 673 were injured in crashes everyday in 2004. Sadly, most of these deaths could have been prevented.
Half of all children under 15 killed in crashes were completely unrestrained. Although all 50 states currently have some form of child restraint laws, parents and drivers need to make sure children are appropriately restrained every car ride.
Here are some tips to help keep kids safe in vehicles:
* All children 12-under should ride in the back seat of the vehicle appropriately restrained,
* Make sure children are appropriately restrained according to current best practices. NHTSA recommends the following guidelines:
* Infants: Birth until at least 20 pounds and at least 1-year-old, should ride rear-facing in an infant or convertible seat,
* Toddlers: Over at least 20 pounds and over at least 1, up to 40 pounds should ride forward-facing in a convertible or combination seat,
* Young children: Over 40 pounds, up to at least 8, unless 4-foot-9, should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat with a lap and should seat belt, and
* Older children: Over 8 or 4-9, should use a lap and shoulder seat belt.
All child safety seats should be used and installed according to the manufacturer's instructions, as well as the vehicle owner's manual instructions.
Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an airbag.
Be a good role model. Always wear your seat belt. For adults, seat belts in combination with air bags provide the best protection against injury and death in crashes.
For more information about child passenger safety and state laws, visit State Farm's website at statefarm.com.