The Facts:

*Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in children ages 5 to 14.

*Children riding in the back seat of a vehicle reduce their risk of a fatal injury by 30% in cars that do not have passenger front seat airbags.

*Children riding in the back seat of a vehicle reduce their risk of fatal injury by 46% reduction in cars that have a front seat airbag.

*The use of a booster seat for children ages 4-7 reduces the risk of injury from a car accident by 59% compared to children using a seat belt without a booster seat.

What you need to do:

1) Always have your child ride in the back seat of the car and the child must be properly restrained (belted).

2) Always have your child use both the shoulder and lap straps of the seat belt. Do not let your child remove the shoulder strap because it is uncomfortable. Make sure the belt fits property or it will not work.

3) Infants should ride in a rear-facing car seat, according to the American Association of Pediatrics, until the age of 2 years old.

4) Never put an infant in a rear-facing child seat in the front of the car. The force of the airbag will cause serious injury or death.

5) Car seats should not be used as a place for infants to sleep or sit while not in transit.

6) Make sure the child seat fits both the child and the car. It is estimated that 80-90% of car seats are installed and used improperly.

7) In Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia, By Law, from birth until age 4, children must be in a car seat. By Law, from ages 4-8 children must be in a booster seat.

To ensure that your child’s car seat/booster seat is properly installed you may call the following government numbers and set up a time to have your car seat inspected:

1) Maryland: 800-370-SEAT (800-370-7982) or 410-767-6016.

2) Virginia: 1-800-732-8333

3) District of Columbia: 202-645-4300 or you may visit The Vehicle Inspection Station at 1001 Half Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024 on Tuesday/Wednesday from 7 am to 3 pm.