infant car seat safety

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its car seat recommendations.

The AAP has now stated that infants and toddlers should be kept in rear-facing car seats for “as long as possible.”

The AAP had previously recommended that all babies be transported in rear facing until at least two years of age. Their new stance is that babies should remain rear-facing until they reach the car seat manufacturers maximum height and weight guidelines, regardless of the child's age.

Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, who is the lead author of the AAP policy statement and also the chair of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, has been quoted, saying "Fortunately, car seat manufacturers have created seats that allow children to remain rear-facing until they weigh 40 pounds or more, which means most children can remain rear-facing past their second birthday, It's best to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. This is still the safest way for children to ride.

The evolution of car seats as children grow is to inherently reduce the amount of protection provided for the child in an automobile crash. You should always use the car seat that is appropriate for your child’s size and age to reduce the risk of serious injuries.Car seats can reduce injuries or even fatalities by as much as 70%..

When using a forward-facing car seat your child’s head will be thrown forward in the event of an accident occuring while moving. Severe injuries of the spine and neck can be the result of this. With a rear-facing car seat, the seat does a better job in absorbing the impact of a crash rather than tranmitting the energy into the childs spine.

For more info, see the Consumer Affairs article here.

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