One of the most important purchases new parents make is the car seat that will hold and protect their child. However, there are so many makes and models on the market, that it can be overwhelming trying to ensure that the seat you choose will meet all the safety guidelines. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released new guidelines for car seat safety which will help guide parents through that choice.
In their guidelines, the AAP provided a list of approved car seats. This list includes weight and height limits for each make and model. The updated guidelines include:
- All infants and toddlers should be in rear-facing car seats until they are at least two years of age or until the reach weight and height limit set by the car seat manufacturer.
- Toddlers and preschoolers should be in forward-facing seats only after they have reached the weight and height limit mentioned above. All forward-facing seats should have a harness that adjusts as the child grows. Parents should continue to use these seats for their children until they have exceeded the manufacturer’s weight and height requirement for the seats.
- Children who have outgrown the forward-facing seats should be placed in belt-positioning booster seats.
- Once a child is between the ages of 8 to 12 years of age and is at least four feet nine inches, they can then be fitted with the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts.
- No child under the age of 13 should ride in a front seat of a vehicle.
Car Seat Study
The updated guidelines coincide with a new study on child seats that was recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics. In the study, researchers surveyed 491 parents of children who were between the ages of 17 to 19 months old. Only a little more than 60 percent of those surveyed reported that they used rear-facing seats. This was particularly true of parents who had older children they had used car seats for. However, parents who had discussed car seats with their pediatricians and were aware of the car seat safety recommendations reported using rear-facing car seats for their children 95 percent of the time.
Another recent study published in the Journal examined the records of 18,000 children under the age of 15 who had been in fatal car crashes. Twenty percent of the children were not properly restrained at the time of the crash, and 43 percent of the children died in the crashes. This study emphasizes the critical need for parents and caregivers to be aware of vehicle safety for children.
Carolinas Car Crash Lawyers
Unfortunately, no matter how many safety behaviors we practice, there are always others on the roads who do not. If you or a family member has been injured in a crash caused by another driver, contact a skilled North Carolina car accident attorney to find out what legal action you may be able to take against the at-fault driver.