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Car Safety

Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of accidental death and injuries in children.

Even if you're a careful driver, you cannot control other driver's behavior or eliminate the possibility of a crash.

The single most important thing you can do to protect your child from injury or death in a motor vehicle crash is to buckle them up properly every time.

  • All children 12 and under should ride in the back seat.
  • Infants should be in rear-facing car seats until at least 20 pounds and at least 1 year of age. (Never put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger air bag)
  • Children over 1 year of age and between 20 and 40 pounds can be in forward-facing car seats.
  • Children between 4 and 8 years of age (about 40 to 80 pounds) should be in a booster seat and restrained with lap and shoulder belts every time they ride in the car. (Adult safety belts alone do not offer enough protection in a crash to children of this size)
  • In a child over 80 pounds and 8 years, he/she should be sitting all the way back against the vehicle seat with the lap belt across the hips - not the stomach. The shoulder belt should cross the center of the shoulder. Do not let your children put shoulder belts under their arms or behind their backs - this could result in serious injuries!
  • Read your car seat instruction manual and vehicle owner's manual carefully for proper installation. The car seat should be locked tightly against the vehicle seat - it should not move more than one inch forward or side to side.
  • Replace any car seat that has been involved in a crash.

(Resource: National Safe Kids Campaign website:

© Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood - Invest in Children Child Fatality Review Committee

The Child Death Review Program is funded by: Cuyahoga County, and The Child and Family Health Services Block Grant provided through the Ohio Department of Health. The Child Death Review Program is administered by: The Cuyahoga County Board of Health.