Motor Vehicle Safety

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for children 14 and under with almost 2,000 death in 2005. Inappropriately restrained children are nearly three and a half times more likely to be seriously injured in motor vehicle-related crashes. In 2007, more than 178,000 children ages 14 and under were injured occupants in a motor vehicle crash.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) (12/17/08). 

Safety basics

Riding in a motor vehicle

  • Children under age 13 should ride buckled up in a back seat in an infant or convertible car safety seat, booster seat or safety belt.
  • Infants and children should ride in a rear-facing infant or child car safety seat for as long as possible. It’s the safest way for them to travel. They should ride in the rear facing infant or child safety seat until age 2 or until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer.
  • Children who have outgrown the rear-facing child car safety seat should ride in a forward-facing child car seat with a harness until the child reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer. Many harnesses today serve children to 60, 70 or even 85 pounds.
  • All children who have outgrown child car safety seats should be properly restrained in booster seats until they are 4-feet 9-inches tall or are between 8-12 years of age. Adult safety belts alone do not sufficiently protect children less than 4-feet 9 -inches from injury in a crash. Children can’t ride comfortably and remain properly restrained until they are tall enough for their knees to bend over the edge of the seat when their backs are resting firmly against the back seat. If the shoulder portion of the lap-shoulder belt comes across the neck, rather than the chest, they should remain  in a booster seat.

Bus safety for children

  • While waiting for the bus, take five giant steps form the curb until the bus has stopped completely.
  • Stay seated at all times.
  • Keep head, arms and hands inside the bus. Never throw anything out of the bus window.
  • Always hold on to the bus handrails to prevent falling.
  • Be careful that clothing, book bags, and key rings don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
  • When getting off the bus, take five giant steps away from the bus, and stay on the sidewalk.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus drive. Otherwise, the bus driver may not be able to see you.