Division of Highway Traffic Safety

Director’s Message

Director’s Message

Eric Heitmann

Child Passenger Safety Week

It’s heartbreaking but true: motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://bit.ly/3zThyDE

The CDC reports that in 2018, 636 children 12 years old and younger died in motor vehicle traffic crashes across the United States, and more than 97,000 were injured. Of the children 12 years old and younger who died in a crash in 2018 (for which restraint use was known), 33 percent were not buckled up.

Here in New Jersey, between 2015 and 2019, 17 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle occupants under age 13 died while unbuckled in motor vehicle traffic crashes; five children were tragically killed in motor vehicle crashes in the past couple of weeks alone. These deaths can be PREVENTED, and parents and caregivers are able to make a lifesaving difference.

This September 19th – 25th is National Child Passenger Safety Week and a time for us to come together as a community to help keep kids safe on the road. The awareness week will culminate with Seat Check Saturday on 9/25/21, when trained child passenger safety technicians will be holding public safety seat check events across the state.

Here are some tips on how you can help keep children safe in vehicles all year ‘round:

– Always buckle children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. Doing so can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.) You can learn more about what seat is appropriate for your child at NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat, and have a New Jersey State Police Child Passenger Safety technician ensure that your child’s safety seat and seat belts are installed properly at local seat check locations on Seat Check Saturday or throughout the year. Click here to find a seat check location near you: bit.ly/3l0M8GU.

-Register your child’s car seat with its manufacturer in case of a safety recall. Every seat purchased comes with a postage-paid registration card that you can drop in the mail. You can also register your car seat online here: https://bit.ly/38JEUQg. This will help ensure that you will be notified if a defect is discovered with your car seat so it can be repaired or replaced to keep your child safe.

– Always check the back seat for children in safety seats and lock doors of unattended vehicles – even when it’s not sunny out. Keep in mind that a child’s body temperature rises 3-5 times faster than an adult’s. If a child is left in a hot vehicle, their temperature rises quickly and they could die within minutes.

-Never let children play in areas with moving vehicles, and be sure to lock unattended vehicles before allowing children to play outside near vehicles that may be parked in driveways or along the street. This ensures children will not climb into an unlocked car and become trapped.

For more information on child passenger safety, please visit the Division’s “Child Passenger Safety” webpage at https://bit.ly/3CXB5Vo. In addition to this information, a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics can be found on our website at NJSafeRoads.com.

For questions, comments, or suggestions on child passenger safety or other traffic safety matters, I invite you to contact our office via phone (609) 633-9300 or email HTSWebInfo@njoag.gov. For any other matters, general inquiries can be directed to Citizen Services at (609) 984-5828.

You can also follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media to join the #CPSWeek and child passenger safety conversation this month along with other traffic safety campaigns all year long:


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