The American Academy of Pediatrics, in its Monday journal in Pediatrics, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued separate but consistent new recommendations that children should ride in rear-facing car seats longer, until they are 2 years old instead of 1.
Both organizations say older children who have outgrown front-facing car seats should ride in booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits them. Booster seats help position adult seat belts properly on children’s smaller frames. Children usually can graduate from a booster seat when their height reaches 4 feet 9 inches. Children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat, the guidelines from both groups say.
These recommendations are based on evidence from crashes. For older children, poorly fitting seat belts can cause abdominal and spine injuries in a crash. A 1 year-old is five times less likely to be injured in a crash if they are in a rear-facing car seat rather than a forward-facing seat, according to a 2007 analysis of five years of U.S. crash data. Because toddlers generally have relatively large heads and small necks, in a front-facing car seat, the force of a crash can jerk the child’s head causing spinal cord injuries.
Car seats have recommended weights printed on them. If a 1-year-old outweighs the recommendation of an infant seat, parents should switch to a different rear-facing car seat that accommodates the heavier weight until they turn 2, the pediatricians group says. Thankfully, manufacturers of car seats are helping parents by making car seats with higher weight limitations and thus allowing them to be used longer.
Protect your loved ones and let us answer any questions on these new guidelines. At the Law Offices of Sean Chalaki, our goal is to protect you and your loved ones before the accident and protect your rights after the accident. Our law firm has the experience and knowledge to handle various injury cases involving adults and children of all ages. If you or loved ones were involved in an accident, contact our office for a free consultation to learn if you are eligible to file a lawsuit.