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In and Around Cars Safety Policy Brief
By the Numbers
- Among children ages 4 to 8, the use of booster seats reduces the risk of non-fatal injury by 45 percent compared with the use of seat belts alone.
- Car seats are 71 percent effective in reducing the risk of death to infants.
- A $52 child safety seat generates an average savings of $2,200 in societal benefits (health care and productivity.)
- Heatstroke from children left in cars claimed the lives of more than 550 kids from 1998 through 2012.
Adcovacy at Work
Car Seat Laws for All 50 States
Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have booster seat laws to ensure that children ranging up to age 8 benefit from advanced safety technology. Safe Kids is campaigning for strong laws in the remaining two states, South Dakota and Florida.
Buckling Up and Child Restraints
- Safe Kids coalitions have checked more than 1.5 million car seats.
- Our Child Passenger Program started 15 years ago, when the country’s safety belt use rate was 14 percent. Now it’s 85 percent. We thank our partner, the General Motors Foundation.
- Safe Kids has certified more than 354,000 Child Passenger Safety Technicians.
- We hold more than 8,000 car seat inspection events each year. Find an event near you.
Side Impact Protection in Car Seats
Government sets child safety seats and booster seat performance standards. The use of car seats and other safety devices has led to a 41 percent decrease in childhood motor vehicle traffic-related fatalities. Safe Kids supports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) efforts to create a side impact safety standard for child restraints.
Every year, approximately 38 unattended children die in cars from heat. More than half the time, caregivers are distracted and forget there is a child in the car. Thirty percent of the time children climb into cars left unlocked or find the keys to gain car access and 17 percent are intentionally left in cars. Kids succumb to heat because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. Currently 19 states have laws that prohibit leaving children alone in cars, and other states prosecute caregivers under child endangerment laws.
Counting Down to Drive
The first year of driving is the most dangerous, which inspires Safe Kids’ Countdown2Drive program. Nevertheless, teens as young as 14 years old can drive in nine states. Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) laws have significantly reduced the number of teen motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries, but there is no uniform GDL requirement. During the consideration of the recently passed federal transportation bill, MAP-21, Safe Kids supported incentive grant programs to encourage state adoption of sensible, effective, age-appropriate GDL laws.
39 states and the District of Columbia ban text messaging for all drivers. Twelve of these laws were enacted in 2010. Ten states and the District of Columbia prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving. Our president and CEO commented on findings of a newly released survey stating that new mothers indulge in risky driving behavior with their babies in the car. Safe Kids supports distracted driving laws.