2011 REVISED CAR SEAT SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS

THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS HAS RECENTLY PUBLISHED REVISED RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CAR SEAT SAFETY. THE COMPLETE VERSION CAN BE SEEN ON HEALTHY CHILDREN.ORG. THE FOLLOWING IS AN ABBREVIATED VERSION OF ADVICE FROM THE ACADEMY:

TYPES OF CAR SAFEY SEATS AT A GLANCE

INFANTS AND TODDLERS NEED TO BE IN INFANT SEATS AND REAR-FACING CONVERTIBLE SEATS. ALL INFANTS AND TODDLERS SHOULD RIDE IN A REAR-FACING CAR SAFETY SEAT UNTIL THEY ARE 2 YEARS OF AGE OR UNTIL THEY REACH THE HIGHEST WEIGHT OR HEIGHT ALLOWED BY THEIR CAR SAFETY SEAT’S MANUFACTURER.

TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS NEED TO BE IN CONVERTIBLE SEATS AND FORWARD-FACING SEATS WITH HARNESSES. ALL CHILDREN 2 YEARS OR OLDER, OR THOSE YOUNGER THAN 2 YEARS OF AGE WHO HAVE OUTGROWN THE REAR-FACING WEIGHT OR HEIGHT LIMIT FOR THEIR CAR SAFETY SEAT, SHOULD USE A FORWARD-FACING CAR SAFETY SEAT WITH A HARNESS FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, UP TO THE HIGHEST WEIGHT OR HEIGHT ALLOWED BY THEIR CAR SAFETY SEAT’S MANUFACTURER.

SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN NEED TO BE IN BOOSTER SEATS. ALL CHILDREN WHOSE WEIGHT OR HEIGHT IS ABOVE THE FORWARD-FACING LIMIT FOR THEIR CAR SAFETY SEAT SHOULD USE A BELT-POSITIONING BOOSTER SEAT UNTIL THE VEHICLE SEAT BELT FITS PROPERLY, TYPICALLY WHEN THEY HAVE REACHED 4 FEET 9 INCHES IN HEIGHT AND ARE BETWEEN 8 AND 12 YEARS OF AGE.

OLDER CHILDREN NEED TO WEAR SEAT BELTS. WHEN CHILDREN ARE OLD ENOUGH AND LARGE ENOUGH TO USE THE VEHICLE SEAT BELT ALONE, THEY SHOULD ALWAYS USE LAP AND SHOULDER SEAT BELTS FOR OPTIMAL PROTECTION.

ALL CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 13 YEARS OF AGE SHOULD BE RESTRAINED IN THE REAR SEATS OF VEHICLES FOR OPTIMAL PROTECTION.