AAA: Car crashes are the No. 1 safety issue for children


National Child Passenger Safety Week begins on Monday, and AAA East Central is reminding parents about the importance of properly installing and using car seats. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 139,042 children were injured in car crashes in 2020, or more than 350 injuries per day.

Recent research from AAA and the National Safety Council (NSC) showed a concerning gap in child passenger safety awareness from both parents and caregivers. In the study, more than half of all car seats brought in for inspection to child passenger safety technicians were improperly installed and used. Yet only 20% of parents and caregivers seek expert help installing a car seat or securing a child in a car seat.

“Child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers, but more than half of them are installed improperly,” said Lori Cook, safety advisor, AAA East Central. “That’s why AAA urges parents and caregivers to educate themselves and look for free resources, such as virtual or in-person car seat inspections in their area.”

AAA also recommends:

Select a car seat based on the child’s age and size, make sure it fits the vehicle and use it every time.

Always refer to the specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions (check height and weight limits) and read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or lower anchors and a tether, if available.

To maximize safety, keep children in the car seat for as long as possible if the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.

Keep children in the back seat at least through age 12.

Register all car seats and sign up for recall notices to receive safety updates.

Car Seat Basics is a free online course that helps participants understand the four stages of child passenger safety, including rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. Participants can complete the full training or select a module on a specific stage of child passenger safety. The course was developed through NSC’s work with NHTSA.

AAA East Central urges parents to get a car seat inspection so they can have confidence knowing that their child passenger is protected. For more information, visit

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 71 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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