Infant and Car Seat Safety

Among children 5 years and younger, 451 lives were saved because of car seats and booster seats in 2004.

Infant seats and child car seats are designed to safely absorb and distribute crash impact over a child's body while holding a child in place. The restraint prevents the child from getting thrown out of the car or from being hurt by hitting the car's interior. Parents risk the lives of their children by not putting them in any type of car seat, putting them in incorrectly or putting them in an inappropriate safety seat.

Several myths surround infants and car safety.

  • Myth: Holding an infant tightly will be better for the child in the event of an accident. Fact: During a 30-mile-per-hour crash, test studies have shown that a baby will be crushed between the parent's body and the dashboard or be ripped from the parent's arms with a force of almost 300 pounds.
  • Myth: A child is safer NOT belted into the car because he or she will be thrown free of the crash and saved. Fact: A child not secured in a safety seat is 25 times more likely to die in a crash.
  • Myth: If a child is in a rear-facing seat, then it's safe to have that child in the front seat. Fact: Infants should never sit in the front seat of a car with a passenger-side air bag. The impact of an air bag could injure your child. No matter what, the back seat is safer than the front for every car seat.

Child safety seat laws differ from state to state. To ensure you understand the specific laws regarding car seat safety in your area, contact your local officials or visit


Content courtesy of HealthAtoZ (, and reviewed June 2006, by Richard Lichenstein, M.D., F.A.A.P.,Associate Professor of Pediatrics, The University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.