Motor vehicle accidents continue to kill thousands of kids across the United States every year.
But in 2019, one state saw more child traffic fatalities than any other. That state was Texas.
Over 1,050 Child Traffic Fatalities Reported in 2019, 146 in Texas
According to a new report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car and truck accidents killed 1,053 children under the age of 14 nationwide in 2019, a slight increase from the prior year. Those deaths included:
- 55 children under the age of 1.
- 188 children in the 1-to-3 age group.
- 270 children in the 4-to-7 age group.
- 331 children in the 8-to-12 age group.
- 209 in the 13-to-14 age group.
Texas reported 146 child traffic fatalities in 2019, the highest in the nation.
California was a distant second, with 90 child traffic fatalities that year. Florida followed with 78, Georgia ranked third with 51, and Michigan took 4th place with 43.
Lack of Safety Restraints, Impaired Drivers Implicated in Child Traffic Deaths
Although child safety seats and seatbelts have been proven to reduce traffic fatalities among kids, far too many children still travel unrestrained. In fact, of the 658 child passenger vehicle occupant deaths for whom restraint use was known in 2019, 266 (40%) were unrestrained.
Restraint use was also known for 3,917 of the 4,188 child passenger vehicle occupants who survived fatal crashes in 2019. Only 13% (502) of the survivors were unrestrained. Overall, 67% of the unrestrained children involved in fatal crashes in 2019 traveled with unrestrained passenger vehicle drivers.
At least 204 children were killed in impaired driving crashes during 2019, accounting for 19% of child traffic fatalities reported that year.
The deaths included 109 children traveling with impaired drivers and 60 who were occupants of another vehicle. At least 31 were non-vehicle occupants, and 4 were child drivers.
Keep Your Child Safe on the Road
Sadly, child traffic accident deaths are almost entirely preventable. To avoid tragedy on the road, the NHTSA urges parents and drivers to keep these important safety tips in mind:
- As children grow, so do their restraint types (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster seat, or seat belt). Always use the one that fits your child’s current age and size. The NHTSA Car Seat Finder can help.
- Every car and every car seat or booster seat has different installation instructions, so make sure you read both the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual.
- Remember that children in rear-facing seats should never be placed in front of an active passenger airbag.
- Use either the lower anchors and tether or the seat belt and tether when installing forward-facing seats.
- Find a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST) at a location near you using NHTSA’s Inspection Station Locator to get assistance with installation.
- Remember to register your car seat or booster seat so you can be notified in the event of a safety recall.
- Plan for using car seats or booster seats when traveling and riding in taxis or ride-share vehicles.
- To find out when your child is ready to use an adult seat belt, reference the NHTSA “Car Seat Recommendations for Children.” Be sure to read information for Booster Seat and Seat Belt Use.
- Keep children in the back seat until at least age 13. It’s the safest place to ride.
And of course, never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking or using mind-altering drugs — whether or not you’ll be driving with kids.
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