Safety First!

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending children ride in rear-facing car seats until age 2, then in booster seats until (at least) age 8. There seems to be uproar in Parentville surrounding the issue.

Previously, the rule was that the infant or toddler was supposed to ride in the rear-facing car seat until they surpassed the height and weight limits of the seat. Its suggested minimum, however, was that children should be no younger than 12 mos and no smaller than 20 lbs before they are switched into a different seat. Because of this announcement in 2002, the majority of parents turned the seat around once their baby hit one year – regardless whether or not that was the safest option for baby.

Dennis Durbin, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement and accompanying technical report believes that parents can becoming carried away when exciting transitions occur within their lives. He suggests parents wait until these transitions are actually necessary to make them.

Dr. Durbin had this to say about rear-facing child seats, “A rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body. For larger children, a forward-facing seat with a harness is safer than a booster, and a belt-positioning booster seat provides better protection than a seat belt alone until the seat belt fits correctly.”

“The ‘age 2’ recommendation is not a deadline, but rather a guideline to help parents decide when to make the transition. Smaller children will benefit from remaining rear-facing longer, while other children may reach the maximum height or weight before 2 years of age,” continued Dr. Durbin.

Statistically, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 4 and up. The number of deaths relating to car crashed has decreased since 1997, but we are clearly not out of the woods yet!

A study in the journal Injury Prevention in 2007 has documented that if children under the age of two are in a rear-facing car seat during an accident, they are 75 percent less likely to die to be severely hurt.

Car seats should be used properly until the child is 4 ft 9 in tall and between the ages 8 and 12. Children are also supposed to ride in the back of a car until they are 13.

For more information, visit the following website: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/carseat2011.htm

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