New Car Seat Safety Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics wants parents to change how they buckle up their kids. New AAP guidelines says children should ride in rear-facing car seats until age 2 and then be belted into a booster until at least age 8 (or have until they have reached 4-feet, 9-inches tall). Also, all kids should ride in the back seat of a car until they are 13 years old.

Dr. Dennis Durbin, lead author of the AAP policy statement and technical safety report, says a rear-facing seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, by distributing the force of the collision over the entire body. And, for older children, forward-facing seats with a harness are safer than boosters, and belt-positioning booster seats provide better protection than a seat belt alone until the seat belt fits correctly. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 4 and older.

But Durbin adds, “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.”

See more about the 2011 car seat safety guidelines.