Comprehensive Children's Injury Center

  • Child Passenger Safety

    The Comprehensive Children’s Injury Center (CCIC) provides injury prevention tips for children ages 10 to 16 years old in motor vehicles and as pedestrians.

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    In the Car

    All children who have outgrown child car safety seats should be properly restrained in booster seats until they are 4-feet 9-inches tall or are between 8-12 years of age. Adult safety belts alone do not sufficiently protect children less than 4-feet 9 -inches from injury in a crash. Children can’t ride comfortably and remain properly restrained until they are tall enough for their knees to bend over the edge of the seat when their backs are resting firmly against the back seat. If the shoulder portion of the lap-shoulder belt comes across the neck, rather than the chest, they should remain in a booster seat.

    • When children are old enough and large enough to the use the vehicle seat belts alone, they should ALWAYS use both the lap and shoulder belt
      • The lap belt should fit low on the hips and the shoulder belt should fit across the middle of the child’s shoulder and chest
      • The child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat without slouching
      • The child should be able to sit with their back against the back of the vehicle seat and they should be able to sit this way the entire ride
      • If a child cannot ride this way, then they are probably too small for the seat belt and should use a booster seat


    Whether walking to a friend’s house, to school or around town, children need to know how to navigate streets safely. In addition to environmental risks like speeding motorists, there are many hazards that can cause accidents and injuries. Help reduce your children’s risk of harm by modeling and teaching safe pedestrian behavior.

    • Make sure children look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Cross when the street is clear, and keep looking both ways while crossing. Walk, don't run. 
    • Teach children and make sure they understand and obey traffic signals and signs. 
    • Walk facing traffic, on sidewalks or paths.
    • Require children to carry a flashlight at night, dawn and dusk. Add retroreflective materials to children’s clothing. 
    • Make sure your children take the same route to common destinations (such as school) every time.  Walk with your child to find the safest path. Look for the most direct route with the fewest street crossings.

    Teen Driving

    Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for US teens?

    In 2009, eight teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.

    Texting while driving makes you four times more likely to crash.

    Nearly 50% of teens admit to texting while driving.

    Research and crash data tell us that teen drivers are less likely to buckle up, more likely to speed or drive too fast.  Other risk factors include driving late at night, driving while impaired by alcohol, and driving with teenage passengers.

    For Teens

    Take the pledge—wear your seat belt every time you ride

      1. Teens buckle up far less frequently than adults do.
      2. Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use.
      3. Despite efforts aimed at increasing belt use among teens, observed seat belt use among teens and young adults (16 to 24 years old) stood at 80 percent in 2008 – the lowest of any age group.
      4. In 2009 the majority (56%) of young people 16 to 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were unbuckled.

    Take the pledge—limit distractions (no texting or talking on phone while driving)

    Take the pledge—never drink and drive

    For Parents

    Give clear instructions

    Talk about the rules / safety issues (driving is a privilege)

      1. Insist on seat belts at all times in all seating positions
      2. No drinking alcohol
      3. Limit nighttime driving
      4. Limit the number of teen passengers in vehicle while they are driving
      5. Ban the use of electronic devices while driving

    Lead by example

    Parents have more influence over their teens’ decisions than they think

      1. Teens imitate what they see—parents should practice safe driving habits
      2. Parents should not expect their teen will learn everything they need to know from driver education classes

  • Additional Resources

    Cincinnati Children’s is a member of the Safe Kids USA campaign and the lead organization of the Cincinnati Safe Kids Coalition.  Their goal is to prevent your child from being injured in a motor vehicle crash, fire, scalding, pedestrian activity, poisoning, choking, bike crash, fall, water activity or shooting.

    Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC)
    The Drug and Poison Information Center works to provide you with important prevention information, educational materials, first-aid information, common household hazards and references to national helpline organizations and agencies. 

    The phone number for the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center is 513-636-5111. You may also call a national hotline, 1-800-222-1222, and you will be connected to the center that serves your area.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries are Preventable. In an effort to raise parents' awareness about the leading causes of child injury in the United States and how they can be prevented, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched the Protect the Ones You Love initiative.

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    The best way to protect them in the car is to put them in the right seat, at the right time, and use it the right way.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) helps give additional information on choosing and using car seats as well as a Child Seat Inspection Station Locator to help with installation of your seats.

    American Academy of Pediatrics
    Healthy Children is a parenting Web site backed by 60,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Ideal, whether you're looking for general information related to child health or for more specific guidance on parenting issues.

    Injury Free Coalition of Kids
    The Injury Free Coalition for Kids is among the country's fastest growing and most effective injury prevention programs. They are comprised of hospital-based, community-oriented programs, whose efforts are anchored in research, education, and advocacy.