NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


February 15, 2007

Washington, DC -- National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark Rosenker urged parents to always properly secure children when traveling in a vehicle and is pleased to bring this critical safety issue to the public's attention during this year's Child Passenger Safety Week. Improve Child Occupant Protection has been on the Safety Board's Most Wanted list of safety improvements since 1997.

"Our goal is for states to mandate that children up to eight years old be required to use child restraint systems and booster seats," Rosenker said. "Children deserve the highest level of safety in all modes of transportation and a child occupant protection law in every state and U.S. territories will give parents the guidance they need to properly protect their children. We hope this week will prompt parents and lawmakers to see the importance of properly transporting children in vehicles. "

Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. From 1996 through 2005, more than 3,800 child occupants between the ages of 4 and 8 died in traffic crashes. About 50 percent of those 3,800 children were unrestrained. Of those restrained, most were improperly restrained in a seat belt that was designed for adults, rather than in a child safety seat or booster seat. Children inappropriately restrained in seat belts are 3.5 times more likely to suffer abdominal injury and 4 times more likely to suffer head/brain injury than children appropriately restrained in booster seats. Additionally, children exposed to deployed air bags are twice as likely to suffer significant injury than children not exposed. Safety Board urges: all children be properly restrained for their age, height, and weight; infants, until they are at least 20 lbs and at least 1 year old, be in a rear-facing child safety seat; toddlers, until they are about 40 lbs or age 4, be in a child safety seat facing forward; and children, until they are about 80 lbs or age 8, be in booster seats. Additionally, all children under 13 years old should ride in the back seat of the car for increased safety and older children should use lap and shoulder belts.

The NTSB has made the following recommendation to the states and territories regarding Improve Child Occupant Protection: would ensure that children up to eight years old are required by the State's mandatory child restraint use law to use child restraint systems and booster seats. Currently, thirty-five states, American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands lack laws requiring that children between the ages of four and eight years use booster seats. Further issues on the NTSB's Most Wanted list, including the texts of the specific safety recommendations, summaries of federal agency actions, and the status of each recommendation can be found on the NTSB website at www.ntsb.gov.

NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.