Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death and fifth leading cause of injury to kids in the U.S. Unfortunately, many parents choose not to follow suggested guidelines for child safety seats.

Car seat recommendations are as follows:

  • Babies should be rear facing in an infant car seat until age 2.
  • Toddlers over 2 years should be in a 5-point safety seat until they outgrow the upper weight limit of the seat.
  • Children should be in a booster seat until they are 4 foot 9 inches tall.
  • Children should not sit in the front passenger seat until age 13.

These recommendations are expected to become law in Oregon soon. Until then, we strongly urge you to follow them; they may save your child’s life. Sadly, many parents don’t follow these guidelines.

Here’s what studies have shown:

  • Keeping toddlers ages 1-2 years in a rear-facing position reduces the risk of dying or having a serious head or neck injury by 75 percent.
  • Children ages 5 and older are 50 percent less likely to die in a car accident if properly retrained.
  • A survey found that 41 percent of kids age 5, 23 percent of kids age 6, and 12 percent of kids age 7 were not properly restrained.

The reasons parents don’t follow the recommendations vary, but some of the common ones we hear are: “Her legs look cramped” or “He doesn’t like his car seat.”

The fact is, baby legs have multiple joints that will absorb the impact of a crash. And parents should never leave it up to their children to decide.
Because no matter how good of a driver you are, you can never predict when a car accident might happen.

For more car seat and booster basics, child seat recalls, installation tips and instructional videos, visit The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.