The more you drive with your kids in your car, the more risk your children have. Currently, motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for children over the age of one. While you can’t avoid driving anywhere with your children, you can reduce the risk that they face in your vehicle by ensuring they have proper safety restraints.

Children, including grade school-age children, need special safety gear in order to make vehicle restraint function properly in the event of a crash.

Newborns require rear-facing car seats

Whether you invest in the fancy clicking system that allows you to move the car seat directly to a stroller and a high chair or you just have a basic rear-facing car seat, your newborn baby should face away from you while restrained in the vehicle. Keeping your infant rear-facing until they reach the maximum weight listed by the manufacturer is of utmost importance for keeping them safe in the car.

Older infants can use forward-facing car seats

Babies with greater muscle control and strength, including toddlers, can sit in forward-facing car seats. One of the most important steps will be ensuring that the base or the seat itself gets properly installed. Asking for help from your pediatrician or local safety officials may be the best way to ensure proper installation of the car seat that could save your child’s life in the event of a crash. Improperly installed seats are a risk just like not using a seat or using the wrong seat for the size of your child.

Regardless of what your kid says, they do need a booster seat

The whole point of the booster seat system is to allow children who are old enough to use standard vehicle safety restraints to use them safely. The smaller size of children means that the restraints of the safety belt don’t fall in the proper places, leaving them vulnerable to getting thrown out of the vehicle in the event of a crash.

Your older child in grade school may insist that they are not a baby and that they don’t want to ride in a booster seat, but you need to ignore those complaints and focus instead on their safety. Until your child is 4’9” tall, a booster seat is the best way to ensure that the safety restraints in your vehicle keep your kid safe in the event of a crash.

Using all these restraints can drastically increase the safety of your family in the event of a collision, but nothing can completely eliminate the risk that motor vehicles create. Parents dealing with the catastrophic financial consequences of a crash that injures their children may need to consider a personal injury lawsuit to recoup those expenses.