Children should ride in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible. That’s the new determination from the American Academy of Pediatrics. They believe these updated guidelines will save more lives
The new set of recommendations drops the age limit. Previously, the thinking was that children should ride in rear-facing child safety seats until they reach two years old. But most child safety car seat manufacturers make seats that can hold up to 40 pounds, which means most kids can keep riding in them even after they turn two.
The new guidelines advise parents to use rear-facing car safety seats until their child reaches the maximum weight limit for the car seat. You can find the weight/height limit for your car seat in the instruction manual, but if you’ve thrown it out you can always look up the model online as well. Keep your child in the rear-facing position for as long as possible because it's the safest way for children to ride according to the AAP.
Parents are encouraged to delay turning the seat around, but once they do so kids should stay in the forward-facing seat with harnesses for as long as possible until they hit the maximum weight limit for the seat (which is often capped at 65 pounds).
If they’ve outgrown these safety seats, children should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they can properly sit with a seat belt that fits correctly.
This isn’t the first time child safety seat recommendations have been revised. The AAP updated the policy in 2011 as well, as they set an age limit for rear-facing seats until at least 2 years old. The policies evolve and are updated because the AAP takes the best evidence possible at the time to determine their recommendations.
We spend so much of our lives commuting, going from home to daycare, to work, and then back again. Putting your children in a car and driving them around is one of the most dangerous things a parent will do as a part of their daily lives. Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children 4 and under. Safety has to take priority and using the right car safety seat and booster can help decrease the risk of a serious injury or death by more than 70% according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
Take note of these new recommendations and buckle in your precious cargo safely.