Child Passenger Safety Program

En Español


two adult and child in car seat


Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for children over one year of age. When properly installed, child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. Seat belt usage increases the chances for surviving a crash by nearly 45 percent.

The Child Passenger Safety Program began in 1995. It's funded by a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) grant administered by the S.C. Department of Public Safety (DPS). The goal of the program is to prevent and reduce injuries, disabilities and death to children due to motor vehicle crashes by:

  • Counseling parents and community groups on child passenger safety.
  • Demonstrating and instructing the proper installation of the various child safety seats (infant, convertible, and booster seats).
  • Explaining the dynamics of a motor vehicle crash and potential dangers for children not properly restrained.
  • Providing technical assistance as needed.
  • Providing training to DHEC's public health offices, partner organizations, community groups, etc., to ensure knowledge and skills to properly restrain children in motor vehicles.
  • Serving as a resource for addressing child passenger safety issues in the community.
  • Stressing and educating the importance of safe transportation for children riding in motor vehicles.

Child Passenger Safety Tips

Based on new recommendations to American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines

  • Infants and toddlers should ride facing the rear of the vehicle until they are at least 2 years old.
  • Young children should ride in car safety seats with a harness until at least age 4 years, with guidance educating parents and caregivers about the benefits of riding in a seat with a 5-point harness up to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer.
  • School-aged children should ride in belt positioning booster seats until at least age 8 years or until the seat belt fits correctly, as described by the AAP and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • Children should ride in the rear seat until age 13 years.
  • Seat belt laws should apply to all vehicle occupants and should be subject to primary enforcement.

Useful Links

For additional information please contact:
Program coordinator, (803)898-7310