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Get the latest carseat news here: recalls, conference updates and other child passenger safety current events.

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Try as I might to keep up, NHTSA and Safe Kids love to change their web sites on a regular basis without leaving permanent redirects to the web pages to which I link. If you happen upon one of these stats on either of their web sites with a more current link, please share it with me so I may update my links. Thanks!


These statistics are current as of February 19, 2010.

Back seat vs. front seat safety

Kids in the back seat are 38 percent less likely to be injured in a crash. Partners for Child Passenger Safety at CHOP

Riding in the back seat reduces the risk of death by 30%.  SafetyBeltSafe USA

Over 30% of 10 year olds are sitting in the front passenger seat and about 55% of 13 year olds are up front.  CHOP

Children riding in the front seat are 40% more likely to be injured in a crash than those riding in the back seat.  Safe Ride News May/June 2005 Vol. XXIII, No. 3

14% of kids under age 13 rode in the front seat in 2004.  CHOP

Kids riding in the center rear seating position have a 43% lower risk of injury than those who sit in an rear outboard position. Kallan, M., et al. "Seating Patterns and Corresponding Risk of Injury Among 0- to 3-Year-Old Children in Child Safety Seats." Pediatrics Vol. 121 No. 5 May 2008, pp. e1342-e1347

Restraint Use

80% of child restraints are used incorrectly.  NHTSA

"Nearly a third of children ride in the wrong restraints for their age and size. Recent data from the Crash Injury Research & Engineering Network indicate that inappropriately restrained children are nearly three and a half times more likely to be seriously injured than their appropriately restrained counterparts." National SAFE KIDS Campaign

Carseats reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for children ages 1-4, and reduce the need for hospitalization by 69% for children ages 4 and under. National SAFE KIDS Campaign and NHTSA Child Passenger Safety Technician Program Participant Manual pg. C-4

"As of October 1, 2001, 137 children have been killed by passenger air bags. Approximately 88 percent of all children killed by passenger air bags were either unrestrained or improperly restrained at the time of the crash, including 22 infants in rear-facing child safety seats in front of a passenger air bag. National SAFE KIDS Campaign

83% of children ages 4-8 ride improperly restrained in adult seat belts. Only 19% of children who should be restrained in booster seats use them. National SAFE KIDS Campaign

"Every dollar spent on a child safety seat saves this country $32." National SAFE KIDS Campaign

Based on an observational study of intersections by NHTSA, in 2002:

  • 99% of infants (0-12 months) were restrained
  • 94% of toddlers (1-4 years) were restrained
  • only 83% of booster-age children (4-7 years) were restrained
  • 66% of infants were in a front-facing carseat, 32% were in a rear-facing carseat
  • 62% of toddlers were in a front-facing carseat, 4% were rear-facing, 16% were in a high-back booster, 13% were in a vehicle belt or backless booster seat, 6% were in no observable restraint
  • 9% of booster-age kids were in a front-facing carseat, 1% were rear-facing, 6% were in a high-back booster, 67% were in a vehicle belt or backless booster, 17% were in no observable restraint

If ejected from the vehicle, an occupant is 4 times more likely to die and 14 times more likely to receive cervical spine injuries. NHTSA 2002 Child Passenger Safety Technician Program Participant Manual pg. D-6

Booster seats reduce injury to 4-8 year olds by 59%. JAMA

Booster seat use among 4-8 year olds increased from 4% in 1999 to 27% in 2004.  CHOP

For children in carseats, forward-facing kids are 4 times more likely to be injured in a side impact than rear-facing kids. MSNBC

Rear center lap/shoulder seat belts are required in cars, light trucks, and 12 and 15 passenger vans, and were phased in starting in model year 2006 per Anton's Law. 50% of MY 2006 passenger vehicles, 80% of 2007 of passenger vehicles, and 100% of 2008 passenger vehicles have rear center lap/shoulder seat belts. NHTSA

Children ages 2-5 restrained by a seat belt only are 4 times more likely to suffer a head injury compared to those in a child restraint. CHOP Research Institute CPS Issue Report

General Facts

"Seventy-five percent of motor vehicle crashes occur within 25 miles of home. In addition, 60 percent of crashes occur on roads with posted speed limits of 40 mph or less." National SAFE KIDS Campaign

Polyester vehicle seat belts stretch by about 7% under severe loading. SafetyBeltSafe USA

From SafetyBeltSafe USA, % of reduction in strength of vehicle belt when twisted:

  • 1 twist: 6%
  • 2 twists: 11%
  • 3 twists: 20%
  • 6 twists: 40%

In 2006, unintentional motor vehicle traffic deaths were the leading cause of injury death for ages 1-34. Under age 1, they ranked 3rd (behind unintentional suffocation and homicide). Office of Statistics and Programming, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC

42% of all unintentional childhood deaths are due to crashes. NHTSA 2002 Child Passenger Safety Technician Program Participant Manual pg. C-4

42% of fatalities for children up to age 8 in the back seat are from side impacts. ; Partners for Child Passenger Safety, Winter 2007 Tech Update

Within 30 minutes, the temp. inside a vehicle can rise to 120F when it's 85F outside. National SAFE KIDS Campaign

Temperature inside a vehicle can rise about 19F in 10 minutes. "Hyperthermia Deaths of Children in Vehicles Summary Sheet," by Jan Null

Children left unattended in hot cars account for 24% of fatalities.  Kids And Cars

Lower LATCH anchor specs:

  • measured center to center, anchors must be 280 mm 1 mm apart
  • anchor bar itself is 25-40 mm
  • diameter of the anchor bar is 6 mm

Most common crash injuries in children by rank (CHOP):

  1. head
  2. face
  3. upper extremities
  4. lower extremities
  5. abdomen
  6. chest
  7. neck/spine/back

Approx. 117 people die in vehicle crashes every day. NHTSA 2007 National Child Passenger Safety Certification Training Curriculum, Chapter 2, pg. 14

Crash Facts

Point of impact (CHOP):

  1. frontal: 44%
  2. rear: 31%
  3. side: 11.2%
  4. rollover: 2.5%

Posted speed limit (CHOP):

  1. less than 25 mph: 2%
  2. 25-34 mph: 23%
  3. 35-44 mph: 28%
  4. 45-54 mph: 14%
  5. 55-64 mph: 12%
  6. 65+ mph: 5%
  7. no posted limit: 14%
  8. unknown: 3%

73% of crashes occurred between 10a-8p (CHOP)

57% of crashes occurred 10 min. or less from home; 24% occurred 11-20 min. from home (CHOP)