Baby Safety for the Car

Injuries suffered while riding in motor vehicles are the number one preventable cause of death in young children. Passenger air bags have saved numerous lives, but air bag deployment has also been associated with the deaths of several infants and children. Most of those injured by air bags have not used car seats and seat belts properly.The following steps can reduce the risk of injury from an automobile accidents or air bag deployment:

  • Infants should always be secured in appropriate car seats when the motor vehicle is in motion.
  • Infants should never ride in the lap of an adult while the motor vehicle is in motion.
  • The BEST seat for children 12 years old and younger is the BACK seat.
  • Infants less than 20 pounds or under 1 year should use Rear Facing car seats in the back seat. Never place an infant in the front seat of a car.
  • Infants more than 20 pounds and children up to 4 years old should use car seats in the BACK seat.
  • Child safety seats may be needed for children 4 to 7 years old to restrain them properly with a lap-shoulder restraint system. Be sure that the lap belt rests low across the child’s hips and that the shoulder belt crosses from hip to shoulder, not across the neck.
  • For questions about children and air bags, call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Auto Safety Hotline toll-free at 1-800-424-9393.

“Motor Vehicle and Traffic Safety”, American Heart Association, 1997.

Last updated: 12/2006