Motor vehicle injuries are the single leading cause of death for children, adolescents, and young adults between the ages of 3 and 33 years in the United States, and the leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for all ages.
Occupant restraint devices, specifically lap/shoulder belts, hold passengers in place during crashes and prevent contact with the vehicle’s interior components and ejection from the vehicle. Child safety seats and booster seats are tailored to a child’s anatomy so that they restrain without applying dangerous forces to vulnerable regions of the body. Optimal restraint use for children less than nine years of age entails the proper use of age- and weight-appropriate child safety seats or booster seats and children under 13 years should ride in the rear of the vehicle. Traffic safety organizations make specific recommendations about the type of restraint systems that should be used, as well as seating position based on the occupant’s age, weight, and height. The USPSTF found that the correct use of federally approved child safety seats and lap/shoulder belts was effective in preventing morbidity and mortality.
The USPSTF recommends that clinicians regularly counsel patients and their families to use age- and weight-appropriate restraint system.
The above information is for general education purposes only. Please ask your doctor specific questions during your visit.