The American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP) stepped up recommendations for car safety in a new policy, issued in the latest issue of Pediatrics. Based on an important 2007 study in Injury Prevention, the AAP now recommends that parents keep toddlers in rear-facing care seats until the age of 2, or until the reach the maximum height/weight capacity for their car seat.
What Does The Research Show?
Researchers reviewed data from a US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration vehicle crash database for the years 1988-2003 for children up to 2 years of age. Children who were restrained when riding in cars, SUVs, or trucks were evaluated as to what type of restraint was used, and how protective the restraint was in preventing injury. Overall, when children were in forward-facing car seats, there was a higher likelihood of injury as compared to children in rear-facing car seats. The study concluded that using a rear-facing seat , as long the child continues to fit the proper height/weight parameters, is smart choice for the best protection of children two and under.
What Does The AAP Say Now And What’s Different?
In a new policy statement, the AAP advises parents to keep children two and under in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the highest height/weight parameters outlined by the manufacturer. Previously, the AAP recommended that although is was safest to ride rear-facing until the heigh/weight limits of the car seat, it also stated that children 12 months of age and 20 pounds in weight could ride forward facing.
Why Is Rear-Facing Safer?
A rear facing seat supports a baby or toddler’s developing head, heck and spine more effectively in a crash. The more support for the head, neck and spine, the less impact when the force of a crash comes into play.
Should I Flip My Child Around If She’s Less Than Two And Forward Facing?
Yes. As long as she still fits the weight and height requirements for the seat. Make it a celebration! Make it a special event! “We’re doing the car seat flippy flippy again!”. Make sure to educate child care providers and any other people who may transport your child.
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