Vehicle Safety

Whether it's for an occasional field trip or daily pick-up trips, you're likely to have children in and out of your vehicles. Here's what to do to make it a safe ride.

The rear seat is the safest place for children of any age to ride! Always buckle children up in the vehicle: use car seats, boosters, and/or lap belts, according to the child's age and size. Babies should ride in rear-facing infant car seat until they are at least one year old and weight more than twenty pounds, and should be securely strapped into the back seat of the car. Be sure the seat is approved for infants and has not been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Children over a year, weighing between 22 and 40 lbs., can use a forward-facing car seat, securely strapped into the back seat. Make sure that you are using an approved car seat for the correct weight and height of the child. Children over 40 lbs. should travel in the back seat of the vehicle with buckled seat and shoulder belts, or a securely strapped booster seat.

Air bags can be hazardous to children sitting in the front seat. Read your car's owner's manual carefully on air bag safety. When used with lap or shoulder belts, airbags work well to protect older children and adults who ride in the front seat, facing the front of the car. Make sure that everyone in the front seat is properly buckled up and seated as far back from the air bags as is reasonably possible.

Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. The inside can become dangerously hot very quickly. Unattended children are also targets for abduction. Moreover, children may accidentally release the brake and the vehicle may begin to roll.

For additional information, contact the NHTSA at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT.

Page last updated: Aug 26, 2013