TWIN FALLS, Idaho – The news is sobering: a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13 are motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Idaho Transportation Department. 

One measure to help prevent such tragedy, the agencies say, is making sure children are properly restrained whenever they’re riding in a vehicle.

This week, from Sept. 17-23, is National Child Passenger Safety Week, and the NHTSA and ITD are reminding parents and caregivers to make sure their young ones are safely secured before putting the vehicle in gear.

“From 2011 to 2015, 12 children under the age of seven that were killed in Idaho passenger-vehicle crashes were unrestrained,” Sherry Jenkins, of ITD’s Office of Highway Safety, said in a prepared statement. “Those kids would likely have survived, or had a much better chance, had they been properly buckled up.”

According to information from the agencies, properly using child safety seats have been shown to reduce fatal injury from crashes by 71 percent for infants (under 1 year old), and by 54 percent for toddlers (ages 1 to 4).

Child Passenger Safety Week is dedicated to teaching parents and caregivers the importance of correctly installing and using car seats, booster seats and seat belts.

"It is important to register car seats with the manufacturer so parents can be notified in the event of a recall," the agencies say.

NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. After outgrowing car seats, children should be placed in booster seats until they are big enough to fit seat belts properly without help from a booster seat. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat of the car.

For more information on child car safety, visit or
ITD's Child Safety page.

“Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts are often used incorrectly, but no parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to his or her child’s safety," Jenkins said. “When children under seven years old grow out of car seats, their greatest risk is not being placed in booster seats. Booster seats can save lives and are as important as any of the other restraints. And, they’re available for as little as $20.”