Keeping your child safe while you are driving is one of the most important actions you can take as a parent to prevent injury or death to your child. Motor vehicle crashes and accidents are the number one cause of death in children aged three to fourteen according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By using a car seat, you can keep your children safe while you are on the move.

How a Car Seat can Protect

Baby safety seats have a unique design intended to distribute the energy from car accidents in order to protect baby’s spinal cord and brain during a car crash. A car seat will cradle a baby’s body to protect baby and absorb the shock. Since baby’s heads are heavier and they have very delicate necks, the risk of spinal cord damage is very high. This is why it is very important to have a rear facing, properly installed car seat and to be sure your baby is always buckled in when in a moving vehicle.

Baby in car seat

Child Car Seat Safety Statistics

About 179,000 children under the age of 14 were injured in car accidents in 2009. 1,314 children under the age of 14 passed away as a result of car accidents in the same year. In 2010, child safety seats saved the lives of 303 children under the age of four years old. Statistics show that using a car seat can reduce your child’s risk of death during a car accident by 71% in babies, and 54% in toddlers. In older children ages four to seven, the use of a booster seat in the car can reduce the risk of injury by 59%. Using a child safety seat can save your child’s life. These statistics show how crucial it is to be sure your child is safe while in a moving vehicle.

What Can You Do To Protect Your Child?

The best thing you can do to protect your child while in a car is to be sure they are buckled in to a child safety seat at all times. Any child under the age of 13 should be in the back seat away from the air bag. Never place a child seat in the front seat or near an air bag, as they can kill small children. Ensure your child’s car seat is installed properly. Most local fire departments will install the car seat for you to make sure it is safe.From the time your children are very young, teach them the importance of car safety. Be sure that seat belts are always buckled, even if you are in the parking lot and before you pull out of your driveway.

Types of Child Safety Seats

Having the correct type of car seat according to the age of your child can also be crucial in the event of a car accident. For babies under the age of one, a rear facing seat should be used. Always be sure the harness straps are pulled tight over baby’s shoulders and baby’s head is at least two inches under the top of the seat. In toddlers aged over one and over 22 pounds but less than 40, a rear or forward facing stage two seat should be used. Rear facing car seats are safer for smaller babies, so it is suggested to keep the car seat facing rear as long as possible. Again, ensure that the harness straps are tight enough that there is no room to pinch the seat belt. As children get older, it is important to continue to use a booster seat for your child’s safety until she or he is big enough to be restrained properly in a regular seat. Child safety seats are crucial for your child’s protection while riding in a car. Never take your child out of the car seat while the car is moving and always remember to buckle them in tightly. Child safety seats save hundreds of children’s lives every year, and could save your child’s life as well.

Christopher Steven is an avid blogger who is passionate about encouraging safety for all communities while working with the Gorospe & Smith Tulsa Car Accident Lawyer Firm in his own community to educate and promote safety and accident prevention.