The number one cause of death among children is car accidents. Here’s what you need to know to protect your children (& yourself) every time you hit the road.


Driving is the main mode of transportation for many families. Whether you’re driving your children to school or afterschool activities or you have a new teen driver at home, in all likelihood, you probably find yourself in the car driving with your child(ren) at many points during your day-to-day life.

If so, this driving safety guide is for you.

It shares invaluable tips for keeping children of any age as safe as possible whenever they may be traveling on the roads. Some of the specific points discussed below include:

  • The facts about how frequently children and teens are harmed (and killed) in car accidents
  • How to properly use child car seats
  • The most common mistakes made with child car seats (and how to avoid them)
  • How to keep older children and teens safe when riding in or driving cars
  • Safety tips for young pedestrians and bicycle riders
  • What to do after a car accident to protect your child(ren), as well as yourself.

These insights can help you take the right steps to maximize your child’s safety on the roads, regardless of your child’s age and whether your child is riding in, driving or sharing the roads with motor vehicles.

angry baby strapped into a car seat

How Often Are Children Hurt in Car Accidents? Far Too Often…

Before diving into specific safety tips, it’s important to present a clear picture of just how commonly kids are seriously (if not fatally) harmed in car crashes. Here are some of the latest statistics (according to the CDC and the NHTSA):

  • Motor vehicle accidents – including car crashes, bike accidents and pedestrian accidents – are the number one cause of death among babies, young children and teens (i.e., those 0 to 19 years old).
  • Every day in the U.S., car accidents kill 1 to 2 children (under 13) and injure nearly 340 others. Annually, this means that auto crashes kill more than 600 children and injure well over 121,000 others.
  • Every year in the U.S., about 35% of the children (under 13) who are killed in car accidents are unrestrained at the time of the crash (i.e., not in a car seat or wearing a seatbelt).
  • These unrestrained deaths (involving children) tend to occur more often in wrecks involving SUVs and pick-up trucks (as opposed to crashes involving sedans and smaller passenger vehicles). In other words, it’s far more likely that kids riding in SUVs and pickup trucks are not properly secured in child car seats or with seatbelts (when compared to children riding in smaller vehicles).
  • Unrestrained fatalities also vary significantly by ethnicity. In fact, each year, close to 50% of African American and Hispanic children who are killed in car crashes are not buckled up or properly secured in child car seats (as compared to 26% of car accident deaths among Caucasian children).

These facts underscore just how vulnerable child passengers can be – and just how vital it is that parents take the appropriate safety measures every time they drive (and especially when they’re driving with children).