Automobile accidents are the leading cause of fatalities for children between the ages of 3 and 14. According to research by the United States' Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the correct use of child safety seats and seat-belts would decrease the risk of fatality from car accidents by 71% for infants and 54% for children between the ages of 1-4. To ensure safety for children, you should consider the following information:
- Choose a child safety seat according to your child(ren)'s age, height and weight.
- It is advised to install the child safety seat in the middle of the backseat as this is the best spot to avoid impact from either side of the car in the case of a collision, as well as impact with the windshield and dashboard. Do not install the safety seat across from a seat fitted with airbags as it could cause severe injuries.
- You should have your children use child safety seats for as long as possible. For children of age 3 and under, they should be sat facing the back of the car. Choose child safety seats according to the ages, heights, and weights of the children.
- Only let a child use the front passenger seat when they are able to use a seat-belt. The portion of the seat-belt across the body needs to lie above the thighs, not across the stomach; the diagonal portion needs to stretch from the shoulder down across the chest, not across the neck or face.