Support to Enhance Protection for Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles
Submitted by: Division of State and Provincial Police, Division of State Association of Chiefs of Police, and Highway Safety Committee
WHEREAS, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recognizes law enforcement leaders have an obligation to work together to enhance protection for child passengers in motor vehicles; and
WHEREAS, in the United States, in 2018, 636 children under the age of 13 were killed in traffic crashes, and 191 of those children were unrestrained at the time of the crash;1 and
WHEREAS, child safety seats decrease the risk of a fatal injury by 71 percent among infants and 54 percent among young children;2 and
WHEREAS, booster seats reduce the likelihood of serious injury by 45 percent among children ages four to eight, when compared to seat belts alone;3 and
WHEREAS, restraint use for children under eight was at 90.4 percent in 2018, down from 92.8 percent in 2017;4 and
WHEREAS, child restraint use in rear seats decreased to 91.3 percent in 2018 from 93.2 percent in 2017;5 and
WHEREAS, in 2017, children under five years of age were saved by car seats 325 times;6 therefore, be it
RESOLVED that any legislation introduced to enhance child safety in motor vehicles shall include the following definitions: “child restraint system”—any device, except Type I or Type II seat belts, designed for use in a motor vehicle to restrain, seat, or position children who weigh 80 pounds (36 kg) or less. To comply, a child restraint system in the United States must meet all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standards including FMVSS 213, and “properly secured”—used in accordance with child restraint system manufacturer instructions, including manufacturer height and weight limits, proper attachment to the vehicle, correct securement of the child and expiry dates; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED that the following best practice child restraint recommendations are consistent with the most current guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Infants and Toddlers: Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing car seats until they reach maximum rear-facing weight or height allowed by specific car seat instructions.
- Toddlers and Preschoolers: Children who exceed the rear-facing weight or height limit for their convertible car seats should ride in forward-facing car seats with internal harnesses until they reach maximum forward-facing weight or height allowed by specific car seat instructions.
- School-Age Children: Children who exceed the forward-facing weight or height limit for their forward-facing car seats with harnesses should ride in belt-positioning boosters until the vehicle seat belts alone fit correctly.
- Older Children: Children who are mature enough and large enough for the vehicle seat belts alone to fit correctly should always ride with seat belts across lap and shoulder. Vehicle seat belts fit correctly when a child is sitting all the way back against the vehicle seat back with the child’s knees bending over the vehicle seat edge, the lap belt is fitted snugly across the child's thighs and lower hips and not on the abdomen, and the shoulder strap snugly crosses the center of the child's chest between the neck and top of the shoulder.
- Seating Position: All children under age 13 should ride in the rear vehicle seat.
4 Jacob Enriquez, Occupant Restraint Use in 2018: Results from the NOPUS Controlled Intersection Study (Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], 2019).