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More than 600 child passengers aged 12 and below died in motor vehicle crashes in 2019, the latest year for which data is available. Of the children who passed away, nearly 40% were not buckled up. Thinking about child safety can be difficult — but making sure you have the right safety gear in place is an important part of keeping your child safe.

Even when correct safety gear such as restraints and booster seats are used — they’re used incorrectly nearly half the time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Reading up on your child’s safety restraint systems could help you keep them safe.

Booster and car seat safety statistics and facts

Car seat safety statistics and car seat death statistics are never easy to read. However, arming yourself with the facts may help you keep your family safe in the car.

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  • Child safety seats have been shown to reduce fatal injury by 71% for infants aged one and below, and by 54% for toddlers between one and four years of age. (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA)
  • 67% of children riding with unrestrained drivers were also unrestrained, based on known restraint use. (NHTSA)
  • 608 children aged 12 and under passed away and 91,000 were injured in a motor vehicle crash in 2019. (CDC
  • 38% of children who passed away in a car accident in 2019 were not using a restraint. (CDC)
  • 23% of children passengers who passed away were involved in a car accident that involved alcohol-impaired driving. (CDC)
  • Using a booster seat reduces the risk of serious injury in children ages four to eight by 45%. (CDC)
  • Seat belt use reduces the risk of death and serious injury by about half for older children and adults. (CDC)
  • Children under one year old should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. (NHTSA)
  • Approximately 8.2% of children under one year old were not in rear-facing car seats in 2019. (NHTSA)

Car seat types

Several different types of cars are available to help keep your child safe. Your child’s age and individual needs will likely influence the type of car seat that works best for them.

Rear-facing car seat

  • Best for infants, from newborns to three-year-olds
  • Designed to mitigate stress to the child’s fragile neck and spinal cord

Forward-facing car seat

  • Best for toddlers between the ages of four and seven
  • Designed with a buckled harness that limits your child’s movement in the event of an accident

Booster

  • Best for children between the ages of four and 12
  • Raises a child’s body so that the car’s seat belt sits correctly over the child’s hips and chest

Seat belt

  • Best for children and adults age 12 and above, provided they’re big enough so that the belt fits properly
  • Should fit snugly across thighs, shoulder and chest

Car and booster seat safety laws by state

If you’re looking for ways to keep your family safe in the car, remember that enforcing seat belt use is one of the best ways to do that. Each state has its own booster seat guidelines and car seat laws.

Another way to ensure your peace of mind in the car is to ensure you have the best car insurance available. The best car insurance company depends on your individual needs and preferences. Some shoppers are looking for the cheapest car insurance companies on the market. Per Bankrate’s research, you can find the lowest average full coverage premiums at USAA and Geico. However, these rates are for comparative purposes only. To see a more accurate picture of what you’d pay, you may want to get car insurance quotes from a few different companies. You may also want to talk to friends and family to see what company they recommend.

Frequently asked questions