As awful as it is hearing about a child that was killed in a car crash, it's even worse to hear that many of these deaths were likely preventable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a study of vehicle crashes from 2011 that found that more than a third of kids (under the age of 13) who were killed in these crashes were not wearing seat belts or strapped into a car seat. Furthermore, another study from General Motors shows that a quarter of parents and caregivers drive around with unbuckled kids in the car.

Released as a part of National Child Passenger Safety Week, which ends tomorrow, NHTSA's goal is to bring attention to child safety inside the car. According to the study, car crashes are a leading cause of death for children, and it has set up a website to make sure kids are buckled in properly. The helpful site lists car seat inspection stations as well as car seat recommendations for rear-facing, forward-facing and booster child seats. Both studies (from NHTSA and GM) are posted below.
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NHTSA Finds More Than a Third of Children Killed in Crashes Were Not in Car Seats or Wearing Seat Belts

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than a third of children under age 13 who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2011 were not in car seats or wearing seat belts. To help eliminate these deaths, and as part of Child Passenger Safety Week, NHTSA is highlighting the important safety benefits associated with the proper use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.

"Safety is our top priority, particularly when it comes to protecting our children – who are our most vulnerable passengers," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Parents and caregivers can be the first line of defense by ensuring their children are correctly secured in the right seat for their size and age, and by buckling up themselves."

Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for children. In 2011, almost two children under the age of 13 were killed and 338 were injured every day while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups and vans. Of the children killed, the percentage of unrestrained fatalities, with no car seat or seat belt, varied by vehicle type, with greater percentages of unrestrained fatalities occurring in larger vehicles: SUVs (55 percent), pick-ups (43 percent), vans (40 percent), and cars (24 percent).

"Regardless of the size of the vehicle, the age of the child or the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained in a car seat, booster or seat belt," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Car seats, when correctly installed and used, provide proven life-saving and injury-reducing benefits for child passengers."

From 1975 through 2011, NHTSA estimates that approximately 10,000 lives were saved by child restraints for children under the age of 5 in passenger vehicles, with more than 260 lives saved in 2011 alone.

NHTSA offers parents and caregivers the following safety tips:

-Determine if your child is in the right seat for his or her age and size;
-Read the instructions and labels that come with your child's car seat and read the vehicle owner's manual for important information on installing the seat in your particular vehicle;
-Go to your local car seat inspection station to have your seat checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician;
-Use the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) restraint system or seat belt to install your car seat and use the top tether to secure forward-facing car seats;
-Register your car seat and booster seat at so you will be informed if there is a safety recall on your model; and
-Always wear your seat belt to set a good example. Unbuckled drivers are more likely to have unrestrained children in the car.
-Child Passenger Safety Week is September 15 through September 21, with the final day of the week (Sept. 21) recognized as National Seat Check Saturday. Throughout the week, at more than 600 events in 45 states across the country, certified child passenger safety technicians will inspect car seats and show parents and caregivers how to correctly install and use them. In most cases, this service is free of charge.

Parents and caregivers can visit to determine if your child is in the right seat for his or her age and size and to locate a car seat check event in your area.

Additional information on child passenger safety can be found in NHTSA's latest issue of SAFETY 1N NUM3ERS, an online monthly newsletter on hot topics in auto safety – including problem identification, people at risk and recommended practices and solutions to mitigate injury and death on our nation's roadways.
General Motors
Study: 1 in 4 Parents Drive with Children Unsecured in Vehicle

New Safe Kids Worldwide report made possible by a $2 million GM Foundation grant

DETROIT – One in four parents and caregivers responding to a Safe Kids Worldwide survey said they have driven without making sure their children are safely secured in vehicles.

The report, funded as part of a $2 million grant from the General Motors Foundation, is based on a national online survey of 1,002 parents and caregivers of children ages 10 and under. It reveals that one in four parents admit to having driven without their child buckled up in a car seat or booster seat.

Safe Kids released "Buckle Up: Every Ride, Every Time," today as part of National Child Passenger Safety Week, which began Sunday and continues through September 21.
"As kids grow up, it can be easy to forget the importance of taking time to buckle up, especially on a quick or overnight trip," said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs, and a GM Foundation board member. "Unfortunately, exceptions can lead to tragedies. The research findings underscore the importance of remaining vigilant about buckling up throughout a child's lifetime. There is no reason important enough to take the risk."

About Safe Kids Worldwide
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations dedicated to providing parents and caregivers with practical and proven resources to protect kids from unintentional injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost one million children die of an injury each year, and almost all of these tragedies are preventable. Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 600 coalitions in the United States and in 23 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more. Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by 55 percent. Working together, we can do much more for kids everywhere. Join our effort at

About General Motors Foundation
Since its inception in 1976, the GM Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American charities, educational organizations and to disaster relief efforts worldwide. The GM Foundation focuses on supporting Education, Health and Human Services, Environment and Energy and Community Development initiatives, mainly in the communities where GM operates. Funding of the GM Foundation comes solely from GM. The last contribution to the GM Foundation was made in 2001. For more information, visit

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      When my oldest son was 2 years old he managed to unbuckle his car seat and got out of it. I immediately pulled over and told him that unless he got back in his seat so I could buckle him up we weren't going to McDonalds. He laughed. I sat there and waited. He eventually got back in his seat but fought me when I tried to buckle him back in the seat. I finally got him buckled up and then proceeded to turn the car around and went home with him crying the whole way. At home I explained why seat belts had to be worn (for his safety and because I loved him). I also explained to him that because he wouldn't listen and stay in his seat buckled up we couldn't go to McDonalds. Two years later when his younger brother unbuckled his car seat he screamed at his brother to stay in his seat and get buckled back up or mommy would turn around and go home. He remembered, and his younger brother knew that mommy meant business because his big brother said so. They are now adults and always buckle up. They also tell their friends to buckle up or they won't drive. If they are in someone else's car they buckle up but if their friends don't buckle up they get out and say they won't go anywhere with someone who isn't safety conscience. Seat belts are mandatory in my family. Especially after seeing and reading about a local family that didn't use seat belts and their 2 children were thrown from the car and killed. Parents show your children that you love them, make them wear seat belts at all times. Otherwise just put them in a box and put the box out in the middle of the highway. That is about how safe they are without seatbelts.
      • 1 Year Ago
      My car does not move unless al passengers are belted (one way or the other!).
        • 1 Year Ago
        I let some in-laws ride unbelted because they were carrying large pizzas for a party. After feeling horrible for allowing them to put a few stupid pizzas above their own lives, I swore that my car would never move again until all occupants were belted. NO EXCEPTIONS.
      • 1 Year Ago
      more instances of parents utterly failing their children. It does not get any more basic than seat belts for children. It is unfortunate that some children who have to rely on their parents actually cannot do so.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whisky Tango Foxtrot
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yeah, dontcha just love driving down the street and seeing the big happy family with a couple of kids standing up in the back seat, mom and dad smoking and Fluffy hanging his head out the window? Really loving parents those. Wish they would get pulled over more often.
        • 1 Year Ago
        I grew up when they didnt have such things as seat belts and am still alive and had 2 of the most loving parents any child could ask for. I hate seat belts as have had too many friends and their friends killed because they did wear seat belts. One trapped inside because seat belt would not release and burned to death. So dont preach to me about not being loving parents and think you are better than someone who doesnt believe in those killers. Phony statistics as who knows whether they would have lived or not?Can find just as many that say they are not all that safe but you never hear about them. Sorry, just my opinion.
          • 1 Year Ago
          Seriously, you had too many friends die because they wore seatbelts? please...............
          • 1 Year Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      it took a "study" to figure that out? all one has to do is look at the vehicles going by and something that will be very obvious, very quickly is that # 1, 7 out of 10 will at least have a phone in their hand and # 2 a lot of kids are not buckled in. I've always viewed using seat belts as a no brainer and have been using mine since before there were any laws mandating it
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hate nothing more than see children unrestrained in cars. I see it every single day. It also seems the ones that don't strap their kids in also drive crazy, putting their children more at risk. The laws need to be stricter and more of these parents need to be pulled over and fined!!! If God forbid a child that is not restrained dies in an accident, I feel the parent should be held responsible.
      Mike Burchfield
      • 1 Year Ago
      I lost my only son age 6 to a drunk teenage driver, and he was in car seat, but things happen and we cant question why, but if a child dies in a car accident because they weren't secured, then the parent or who ever was in charge is at fault and should face the consequences, Sorry is not enough
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mike Burchfield
        Mike, please accept my condolences for the loss of your precious son. My son just turned seven and I can't imagine what you have been through.
      • 1 Year Ago
      The most important safety device in any vehicle is the human brain. Unfortunately, it is left unused even more than the seat belts and child seats in question. Some accidents are unavoidable; most aren't.
        • 1 Year Ago
        They are not "accidents" They are CRASHES! When will people realize that and start using the correct terminology. You never hear of an airplane "accident". Crashes have causes, mostly operator error. Automobiles are not "safe" .
      • 1 Year Ago
        • 1 Year Ago
        "What does that tell you?" That you don't understand statistics. The vast majority of kids are restrained. That means that they are likely to make up the majority of any analysis of crash statistics.
        • 1 Year Ago
        That about 40% of the unrestrained children might have survived those crashes.
      • 1 Year Ago
      In the picture, it looks like the bigger kid is going to press the release button from the younger kid's seatbelt.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder if the car wrecks with the children buckled in their seats involved trains, trucks, multiple collisions, fire etc. There must be some reason why these children were in fatalities when they were buckled in. Were the seat restraints used but used improperly? I want all the details.
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