Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children, and the latest research from NHTSA shows that 46% of car seats are misused. The best way to reduce crash fatalities among children is to always select a car seat, belt-positioning booster seat, or lap and shoulder seat belt based on the child’s age and size. Correctly installing a car seat and proper adjustment and fit of the harness or seat belt will improve a child’s safety when traveling. Data from crashes that occurred in 2020 found that more than a third of the children ages 12 and younger who died in cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs were unbuckled. Never let your children ride unbuckled—the consequences could be devastating.
Planning an Event for Child Passenger Safety Week?
Child Passenger Safety Week provides the opportunity to teach parents to make the correct choices to keep the entire family safe. Events are being planned to raise awareness about the need to secure children safely in a vehicle on every trip, every time. Every parent wants to protect their children and keep them safe. Children are safest when correctly secured in the right car seats or booster seats for their ages and sizes — no matter the vehicle type.
The 2022 Child Passenger Safety Week theme is “The Road to Safety”. One of the most common mistakes parents and caregivers make with car seats is moving their children to the next car seat, booster seat, or seat belt too soon. Keep children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height and weight allowed by their particular seats. The recommendations are based on decades of research that have shown the safest way for children to ride in vehicles. Once a child outgrows a rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. The tether is 100% essential for installing a forward-facing car seat; it keeps the seat from moving forward in a crash. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, a child should be buckled in a booster seat until tall enough to fit in an adult seat belt properly. Children might ask to ditch the booster seat because it makes them feel older to ride without it, but the truth is: their safety is what matters most.
Once your child is ready to use a seat belt, ensure that it fits correctly, and remember that the safest place for all kids under 13 is buckled up in the back seat.
Pennsylvania’s Occupant Protection Law for Children
- All children from birth to age 4 must be secured in a car seat anywhere in the vehicle.
- Children younger than age 2 must be secured rear-facing, until they outgrow the maximum weight and height of the car seat.
- All children 4 years of age and older, but less than 8 years, must be secured in a seat belt and an appropriate booster seat anywhere in the vehicle.
- All children 8 years of age and older, but less than 18 years of age, must be secured in a seat belt system anywhere in the vehicle.
- All drivers are responsible for securing children in the appropriate car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
Child Passenger Safety Week is dedicated to educating parents and caregivers about the importance of correctly selecting, installing, and using car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. We encourage you to take an hour or so during this week to double and triple check your child’s car seat or booster seat, and ensure that it is the correct car seat for your child’s age and size, and that it is installed correctly. Car seat check events will be posted on the events calendar.
For more information about the correct selection, installation, and use of a car seat or to request materials, please call 1-800 CAR BELT.