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Adults and Children 13 and Older

  • Sit facing forward with your feet on the floor in front of you (don't put your feet on the dash or out the window).
  • Drivers sit at least 12 inches from the steering wheel (pedal extenders are available to provide good contact with the pedals while also allowing you sufficient distance from the air bag in the steering wheel).
  • Wear your seat belt's lap belt low on your hips and the shoulder strap flat across your collar bone. Minimize the time that you are out of position. Place items you may need during travel nearby so they are within arm's reach and you can quickly return to the correct seating position.

  • Position your head restraint so it is higher than the top of your head and as close as possible to the back of your head.

Children 12 and Younger

  • Sit in the back seat of the vehicle.
  • Use the appropriate car seat, booster, or seat belt for your child's age and size.
  • Rear-facing and forward-facing child safety seats should be securely installed in the vehicle. Parents can go to a certified child passenger safety technician or to an inspection station (see locator at to learn correct installation and have the restraint system checked.
  • For children who have outgrown their harnessed car seat, use a booster seat to make sure the seat belt is in the correct position. Move to the adult seat belt only when it fits the child properly.

  • Don't horse around and get out of position in the seat. Face forward with knees and legs over the front of the seat.

Government Safety Ratings Program

  • NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program created the 5-Star Safety Ratings Program to provide consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles beyond what is required by Federal law. One star is the lowest rating; five stars are the highest. More stars equal safer cars.
  • Each year, new vehicle models are tested using certain crash test dummies to measure a vehicle's occupant protection performance in frontal and side impacts.
  • Find out more information about vehicle safety ratings and other vehicle-related safety information at
Adult and child (Humans and Crash Test Dummies) showing proper seat belt placement