Doctors Have New Recommendations For Rear-Facing Child Car Seats

Experts drop kids' age limit for rear-facing car seats

While past recommendations indicated using children's auto seats until kids turn two, the new guidelines in this regard removed the age limit, arguing that safety measures must be taken until the children can use the cars' built-in seatbelts. "We've actually had the girls rear facing for quite a while". The new findings are based on child size rather than age.

The change means that most children will remain in rear-facing seats well after their second birthdays.

After exceeding these limits, child passengers will ride in a booster that positions the belt all until they can use a seat belt that fits correctly. As long as a child doesn't exceed the weight limit, they should ride in a rear-facing seat, no matter their age.

The above video shows how a rear-facing seat can absorb a simulated crash compared to one that's forward facing.

"Fortunately, auto 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" said Benjamin Hoffman, lead author of the new policy statement, which will be published in the November 2018 issue of Pediatrics.

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The organization now recommends a rear-facing vehicle seat until a child reaches the maximum height and weight allowance listed on the auto seat's manufacturing label. "He's already over 30 pounds, so by the time he's 2, he might be pushing it, but yeah, we'll probably keep him rear facing as long as possible".

The American Academy of Pediatrics changed its recommendations on how long children should remain in a rear-facing vehicle seat in a new policy statement called, "Child Passenger Safety". "The orientation of most parents toward milestones for their kids is that the next stage is positive", he says.

The organization says using the correct auto safety seat or booster seat can help decrease a child's risk of death or serious injury by over 70 percent. Each transition - from rear-facing to forward-facing, from forward-facing to booster seat, and from booster seat to seat belt alone - reduces the protection to the child.

Hoffman also recognizes now that most seats can accommodate kids until much longer. This is typically when they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years old.

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