At the top of the National Transportation Safety Board’s child passenger safety recommendations is having all passengers 12 and under ride in the back seat in properly fitted belts.

According to the group, it is estimated that children ages 12 and under are 33 percent less likely to die in a crash if seated in the rear of a passenger vehicle than if seated in the front seat. One hazard to children is air bag deployment. Air bags are released at speeds upwards of 120 mph and can cause permanent injury and death from spinal cord and brain injuries to children who get in the way.

NTSB's new chairman, Ellen Engleman Connors, says of her organization, “One of our top priorities is reducing the number of senseless deaths on our nation’s highways. Even one child lost is one too many. And the simple act of having children ride in properly buckled car seats and boosters in the back has saved 1,700 lives, or one child’s life each day for the past five years.”

Law enforcement agencies can help the NTSB’s cause by striving to strengthen and enforce the state laws requiring children to be buckled up and in the back seat and by establishing fitting stations to reduce the widespread misuse of child safety seats.

For information on the NTSB and its programs, visit www.ntsb.gov.

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