Children younger than 13 represented 17 percent of the U.S. population in 2013 and 3 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths.
Child deaths in motor vehicle crashes have declined since 1975, but crashes still cause about 1 of every 4 unintentional injury deaths among children younger than 13.
1. Most crash deaths occur among children traveling as passenger vehicle occupants, and proper restraint use can reduce these fatalities. Placing children in rear seats instead of front seats reduces fatal injury risk by about three-quarters for children up to age 3, and almost half for children ages 4 to 8.
2. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have child restraint laws on the books. However, even though more children now ride restrained because of these laws, many children, particularly those 4 and older, still ride unrestrained.
3. Seventeen states have laws requiring children to sit in the rear, but there is considerable variation among the laws based on the child's age, height, weight and whether the vehicle has frontal airbags.
The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
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Sixty-eight percent of child motor vehicle crash deaths in 2013 (the latest year data is available) were passenger vehicle occupants, 22 percent were pedestrians, and 4 percent were bicyclists. Child pedestrian and bicyclist deaths declined by 87 and 92 percent, respectively, since 1975.
Passenger vehicle child occupant deaths in 2013 were 54 percent lower than in 1975.