Did you know that road injuries are the leading cause of unintentional deaths to children in the United States? On average, two children under 13 were killed and 308 were injured every day in 2014 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans. A big reason for this is that many children are riding in car seats that have been installed incorrectly, or are in the wrong seats for their age and size. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 59 percent of car seats are misused. By creating the Child Passenger Safety Week campaign, the NHTSA hopes to help bring these numbers down by educating parents and caregivers on the importance of keeping their children safe every trip, every time.
Using car seats that are age- and size-appropriate is the best way to keep your child safe. The NHTSA states that in 2014, there were 252 children under 5 saved because they were riding in the correct car seats. Car seats matter, and having the right car seat installed and used the right way is critical. It is important to remember that child passenger safety goes beyond the car seat and booster seat years. Too often, parents move their children to the front seat before they should, which increases the risk of injury and death. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seats of cars.
The NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, he/she should travel in a rear-facing “convertible” or all-in-one car seat. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seats with harness, children should be placed in booster seats until they’re the right size to use seat belts safely.
Parents and caregivers should always remember to register their car seat and booster seat with the car seat manufacturer so they can be notified in the event of a recall. More information can be found on car seat safety at www.safercar.gov/parents. You can also locate certified Car Seat Safety Technicians near you on this site.
No matter how short or long the trip, to help reduce injuries and the tragic loss of life, buckle up both yourself and your children—every trip, every time.
Child Passenger Safety Statistics (Provided by SafeKids.org)
- Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the number one cause of unintentional death among children ages 1-19.
- 2,912 children ages 19 and under died in MVC’s in 2014 as occupants or drivers. The number and rate of death was two percent higher in 2014 than in 2013.
- Since the year 2000, however, there has been a 40 percent decrease in the annual number of fatalities and a 56 percent decrease in the death rate.
- Of the 451 children ages eight and under who died in MVC’s in 2014, 116 (26 percent) were not restrained by an age-appropriate device such as an infant car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
- Children ages eight and under made up 15 percent of the childhood motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2014.
- From 2007 to 2011, an average of 37 children ages 14 years and under died per year in MVC’s that did not occur on public roadways, but on private land like driveways and parking lots.
- 430,187 children ages 19 and under suffered a nonfatal injury as an occupant in a motor vehicle crash in 2013.
- Vehicle safety technologies first introduced in 1956, such as seat belts, air bags and electronic stability control, are responsible for 613,501 lives saved in motor vehicle collisions from 1960 to 2012.
- When installed and used correctly, child safety seats and safety belts can prevent injuries and save lives. Child safety seats can reduce fatal injury by up to 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers (ages 1 to 4).
- It is estimated that 263 children were saved due to restraint use in 2013 alone.
- In 2011, 98 percent of caregivers of children ages 8 and under used restraints when transporting their children. Almost half of these caregivers did not use the restraint correctly, which reduces the protection provided in the event of a crash.
- Only 32 percent of caregivers using rear-facing car seats are very confident that they are using them correctly (in a manner that would save their child’s life during a crash).
Where You Can Go to Get Your Car Seat Checked
If you need assistance to learn how to properly install your car seat, you can call to make an appointment with an agency nearest you. Each of the agencies listed below has one or more Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. Click here for more location options.
- Maricopa County Public Health: (602) 506-6860 or (602) 506-0405
- Maricopa Integrated Health System: English (602) 344-5755, Spanish (602) 344-5364
- Phoenix Fire Department: (602) 495-KIDS (5437)
- Phoenix Police Department: (602) 534-TOTS (8687)
- Joseph’s Hospital: (602) 406-3470
- Arizona Child Proofers: (480) 634-7366
- Association for Supportive Child Care: (480) 829-0500 x 233
- Banner Children’s Hospital Classes: (602) 230-CARE (2273), Inspections offered to class participants.
- Chandler Fire Department: (480) 782-2134, Most Saturdays 9am to 12noon. Call for appointment or email email@example.com.
- Gilbert Fire Department: (480) 503-6300, Clinic 1st Thursday of the month only.
- Mesa Fire Department: (480) 644-2200
- Mesa Police Department: (480) 644-KIDS (5437)
- Salt River Pima-Maricopa: (480) 850-8505
- Salt River Police Department: (480) 850-8200, 2pm to 10pm – Saturday through Tuesday
- Scottsdale Fire Department: (480) 312-BABY (2229), Please complete the form by clicking on this website. http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/fire/car-seat-inspections.
- Tempe Fire Department: (480) 858-7230
- Avondale Fire Department: (623) 333-6111
- Daisy Mountain Fire Department: (623) 465-7400
- Goodyear Fire Department: (623) 882-SEAT (7328)
- Luke Air Force Base (military personnel only): (623) 856-3766
- Peoria Fire Department: 623-773-7279 then 3
- Peoria Police Department: (623) 773-5055
- Sun City Fire Department: (623) 974-2321
- Surprise Fire Department: (623) 875-4319
- Tolleson Fire Department: (623) 936-8500