- To be effective, safety belts must be worn correctly. The lap belt should be worn low and snug across the hips. The shoulder belt should be placed over the shoulder and across the chest. Safety belts that ride up against your stomach or across your neck (instead of your shoulder) may not protect you in a crash. Never place the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back — this could result in serious or fatal injury.
- Pregnant women should always wear safety belts with the lap belt as low as possible across the hips throughout pregnancy.
- Safety belts can be dangerous for small children. Safety belts that are in the wrong position may hurt your child in a crash, or they may not hold them in the vehicle seat. Young children should be placed in the appropriate child safety seat until they are over 4 feet 9 inches tall and have outgrown the limits of their safety seat.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that children 12 and under ride in the back seat. That's the safest place.
- Safety belts should be worn in combination with air bag systems. They keep your body in the safest position so an air bag can do its job.
- Drivers with air bags should keep at least a 10-inch distance between the air bag and their breast bone.
- A tilt steering wheel should be tilted down so the air bag will deploy toward the chest and not the head.
- Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of a passenger side air bag.
More information on safety belts and child safety seats
• Life or Death Flyer (1.70 mb, 1 page)
• Sit Tight, Tips for Avoiding Injury in a Crash brochure (226 kb, 2 pages)
• 7 Out of 10 Kids brochure – Best Practice Guidelines (394 kb, 2 pages)
Links to other safety pages
• National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
• The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety
• Buckle Up America
The documents are provided in Acrobat Reader format. Free Acrobat Reader download
Safety Belts ~ Young Drivers ~ Impaired Driving ~ Traffic Safety Grants
~ About Highway Safety ~