Child Passenger Safety

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children. In 2016, 723 children under age 13 were killed in motor vehicle crashes, according to Injury Facts. That's about two children every day.

Properly securing children in safety seats goes a long way in keeping them safer. NSC believes child restraint systems should go beyond state requirements, because too often state laws are no match for the laws of physics.

Tips on Child Passenger Safety

  • Read the NSC position statement on child restraints, which addresses child passenger safety among multiple modes of transportation
  • Take advantage of car seat safety checks held nationwide during National Child Passenger Safety Week
  • If you're pregnant, schedule a car seat installation with a certified child passenger safety technician before the child is born
  • Children should ride in the back seat at least through age 12
  • If your kids complain about wearing seat belts, don't negotiate; don't drive off until they buckle up
  • Always be consistent and wear your seat belt; driver safety belt use strongly influences whether your child will buckle up
  • All 50 states require child seats with specific criteria; here is a list of child passenger safety laws by state, but too often, state laws don't go far enough
  • The life of a car seat is from six to eight years; recalls for child seat manufacturers for the past 10 years can be found here
  • Air bags can save the lives of older children and adults, but they can be fatal for young children

Kids and Hot Cars

Dozens of children die every year in hot cars, with incidents peaking between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

  • 87% of children who die are 3 years or younger
  • 54% are forgotten in a vehicle
  • 28% are playing in an unattended vehicle
  • 17% are intentionally left in a vehicle by an adult

Learn more about kids and hot cars.

Vehicle Crashes the No. 1 Killer of Teens

According to Injury Facts, 2016 marked the third year in a row that teen motor-vehicle occupant fatalities increased; 2,416 teens were killed in 2016 compared to 2,380 in 2015.

Motor-vehicle crashes continue to be the No. 1 cause of death for U.S. teens. The death toll among teens 13 to 19, including pedestrian and bicycle incidents, was 2,820 in 2016 and is equivalent to nearly eight deaths per day.

Yes, these statistics are frightening. That's why teen driver safety is an NSC initiative. Learn why a teen's biggest threat is sitting on the driveway and what you can do to protect your child – from having them sign a safe-driving contract to signing up for a Weekly Digital Driving Coach.

More Child Passenger Safety Resources

NSC Position Statement

NSC is calling for uniform child passenger safety practices on school buses, airplanes and in vehicles. Learn the important steps you can take to ensure children are safe on every trip.

Read the Statement

New Board Members

The National Child Passenger Safety Board appointed six new Board members in 2018.

Meet the Board