Car Seats and Booster Seats

New or Veteran Parent: Car Seat Safety Should Always Be Top-Of-Mind

By Laura Dunn, NHTSA Highway Safety Specialist

Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran parent, the vast array of choices of child consumer products on the market can be overwhelming. Thousands of products from hundreds of brands line the shelves of every big box store, and there are even more options online. When I was pregnant with my first child, I vividly remember walking into one of these stores, telling myself to breathe, and asking myself, “Where do I start?”

A parent’s priority is always to keep their child safe—whether at home, at school, or in the car. And while the style of diaper bag may be fun to pick out, the right car seat can save your child’s life.

Car seats save the lives of hundreds of children each year, including an estimated 325 children under age 5 in 2017. Unfortunately, car crashes are still a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. As a mom, and NHTSA employee, I implore you to make sure your child (and all your passengers) are buckled up correctly in the car. More than that, I ask you to make sure they are in the right seat for their age and size, and that every car seat is certified as meeting Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs). Through a concerned law enforcement officer, we learned about a vehicle seat on the market that claimed to be FMVSS-certified, but was not. And while Little Passenger Seats is no longer in business, the seats they made may still be available online. If you come across one of these seats, steer clear – it poses a safety risk to your child.

This may be a rare case, but it teaches us all an important lesson: Do the homework necessary to keep your kids safe in cars. Always check to make sure that your child is in the correct car seat for his or her age and size, and that the seat is installed correctly.

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