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New Child Safety Seat Guidelines Every Parent Should Know

According to new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines, children should stay in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible in order to avoid injury in the event of a car accident. The guidelines echo the updated recommendations recently published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Both recommend parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2 or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. In addition, children should ride in booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

The recent changes were prompted by a growing body of research that suggests that children are safer in rear-facing 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,” stated Dr. Dennis Durbin, lead author of the APA policy statement and accompanying technical report. “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.”

Since motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children under four years old, parents should be sure to follow the latest safety guidelines and make sure all car seats are properly installed.