Car Safety for Your Older Children | The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Car Seat Safety for Kids

Car Safety for Your Older Children

Seat belts

Seat belts are made for adults. Your child should stay in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle lap and shoulder belts (vehicle seat belts) fit correctly, typically when your child reaches 4 feet 9 inches in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age.

Kids seat belt safety tips

The following are some important seat belt safety tips for your kids:

Teach your children about seat belt safety and make sure they follow them during every road trip. 

Teens seat belt safety tips

Teens have the lowest seat belt use of any age group. Teens that are not properly restrained can be seriously injured or killed in crashes. In 2006, only 65 percent of high school students reported they consistently wore seat belts as drivers and as passengers. Teens admit to not wearing seat belts regularly when they are passengers with drivers of any age. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the majority (56 percent) of young people 16 to 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were unbuckled.

Your teen will become a passenger of other teen drivers, and eventually, a teen driver herself. A new teen driver has four times the fatal crash risk of an adult driver. This is mainly due to a lack of driving experience and distractions such as peer passengers and cell phone use.

Here are some things you can do to help your teen learn safe driving habits:

Resources for teens and parents

Countdown2Drive: If you're a parent of a teen, check out Countdown2Drive, a nationwide web-based program that promotes safe passenger behavior among pre-driving teens. Please visit for free resources for teens, parents, policymakers, educators and researchers to help keep teens safe on the road.

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Four Key Safety Tips

  • Restrain your child on every trip, every time.
  • Keep your child in the back seat.
  • Use the best safety restraint for your child's size.
  • Use child safety seats and seat belts correctly.

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For CPS questions, feedback or more information:

Order Educational Videos

Order our free DVD, "A Crash Course in Child Passenger Safety," with content available in both English and Spanish: