Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 14 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). An average of 5 children age 14 and younger were killed and 568 injured in motor vehicle crashes each day across the United States in 2005. Even a sudden stop can seriously injure a child who is not riding securely in the right type of child safety seat.
State and local police and others involved in child passenger safety (CPS) work continuously to educate parents and caregivers on how to safely transport children in motor vehicles. They are also ready to enforce the Massachusetts CPS Law if necessary to protect children. In 2006 Massachusetts drivers were issued 1,060 CPS Law violations for unrestrained children.
Tips for “best practices” when driving with children as passengers:
- Children birth to 1 year of age and less than 20 pounds should ride in a rear-facing child seat.
- Children 1 to 4 years of age and 20 to 40 pounds can ride in a forward-facing child seat. However, it is recommended that children remain rear facing as long as possible (up to the rear facing weight limit of the seat).
- Children who have outgrown a child safety seat, typically when they are over 40 pounds or 5 years of age, should transition to a booster seat which assists in the proper fit of a safety belt.
- All children must be in a federally approved child passenger restraint that is properly fastened and secured until they are 8 years of age or over 57″ tall.
- Children 12 and younger should never sit in the front seat. The safest seating position is in the back seat, away from air bags if possible.
- Children 13 years of age or older could ride in the front seat, but should position their seat as far back as possible from the air bag.
- Always wear your lap and shoulder belt when driving — it protects you in case of a crash and it sets a good example for children.
Please be aware that the Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law was strengthened with new booster seat requirements on July 10, 2008.
The Littleton Police Department is pleased to employ Certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technicians. Please contact the Littleton Police Department at (978) 540-2300 if you have any questions or would like to have a child safety seat checked or installed.