ST. PAUL — Parents and caregivers are not always making the best choices for keeping young children safe in the vehicle. National research shows about half of them install their child’s car seat incorrectly, and more than a third of children under 13 who died in crashes were unrestrained.
To help protect the youngest Minnesotans and motorists of all ages, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is coordinating a Click It or Ticket enforcement and awareness campaign Sept. 17-23. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides campaign funding for overtime enforcement and awareness in support of the Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program. Troopers, deputies and officers will be spending extra time trying to prevent unsafe seat belt and car seat decisions from risking lives.
“Reach, pull, click. Take two seconds to do that with your seat belt and you increase your chances of surviving a crash,” said OTS Director Mike Hanson. “For a young child, they trust you to be the responsible adult and make sure they’re properly restrained as well. It’s the most loving and caring decision you’ll make in that moment.”
Proper car seat use protects your littlest loved ones
In Minnesota crashes from 2018-2022, preliminary figures show:
- Of the 13,705 children ages 0-7 properly restrained, 88 percent were not injured. Another 9 percent sustained only minor injuries.
- Twenty-three children ages 0-7 were killed in motor vehicles. Of those, only nine were known to be properly secured.
Saturday, Sept. 23 is National Seat Check Saturday as part of National Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept.17-23). In Minnesota, parents and caregivers can go online to schedule a car seat check in their area throughout the year.
Buckle up. You can live with it.
The 2022 Minnesota observational seat belt survey showed 93 percent compliance for front seat occupants. There are signs of improvement in unbelted fatalities, but even one life lost in a crash is one too many.
- Preliminary counts show 87 unbelted motorists died on Minnesota roads in 2022 compared with 110 in 2021 and 105 in 2020.
- Among 25 to 39-year-olds, the 21 unbelted deaths in 2022 was a 48 percent reduction from 2021 (40) and the lowest number since 2019 (17).
Buckle up and prevent life-changing injuries
Most Minnesotans’ choice to wear a seat belt has helped reduce the number of severe crash injuries. In 1987, there were 4,176 vehicle occupants who suffered severe injuries in traffic crashes. That number was 1,244 last year.
Minnesota car seat law and steps
All children must be in a child safety seat until they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall or at least 8 years old, whichever comes first.
- Rear-facing seats: All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they have reached the height and weight limits allowed by the car seat manufacturer. It is safest to keep children rear-facing up to the maximum weight limit of the car seat.
- Forward-facing seats with harness: Toddlers and preschool-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the rear-facing car seat should use a forward-facing seat with harness. They should use this seat until they reach the weight limit of the harness allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
- Booster seats: School-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the forward-facing seat can sit on a booster seat. The booster must be used with a lap and shoulder belt.
- Seat belts: Buckling up with a seat belt is for children 8 years old or who have reached 4 feet, 9 inches. Your children are ready for adult seat belts when they can sit with their back against the vehicle seat, knees bent comfortably and completely over the vehicle seat edge without slouching, and feet touching the floor.
Click it, don’t risk it. The law is for safety.
Minnesota law requires all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts or be in the correct child restraint. Belts should be tight across the hips or thighs and should never be tucked under the arm or behind the back.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 10 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) designs, implements and coordinates state and federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. These efforts form a strong foundation for the statewide Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program, child seats for needy families program and school bus stop arm camera project.