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Vehicle safety for children is a concern from the time you bring your baby home from the hospital until and when they are teenagers with their own driverís license. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of accidental death for all young people, from age 0 through the teen years. Each stage of life presents different risks. In the United States, babies are not allowed to leave the hospital unless the parents have a car safety seat installed in the vehicle to transport them home. Also, itís required by law that children under the age of seven be secured in safety seats in all of the fifty states. There are several different types of car seats, divided into four groups: 0-3. Please see our section on car safety seats for more information on each different group of seats.

A major danger for children is that many parents donít know how to properly use their childís safety seat. Itís vital that the seat is correctly secured in the vehicle, so parents should read all directions thoroughly and practice putting the seat in the car and removing it. Child safety seats are used depending on a childís age and their weight. Too many school-aged children are in danger because they donít use a booster seat. Another danger to children are air bags because they ride in the front seat before they are big enough to do so.

Teenage drivers face a different set of risks, including driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while overtired, being overly confident in their abilities to drive and being distracted. In recent years, texting has become one of the biggest distracted driving activities that results in accidents. Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Several states have passed laws against the use of cell phones and texting while driving. Another vehicle safety concern is what is called ďbackover injuries.Ē Children are injured or killed every year by being backed over, often in their own driveway and by a relative. These types of accidents are usually from a larger vehicle, such as an SUV, van or pickup truck.


 


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