The American Academy of Pediatricians recently reversed itself on child safety guidelines that have been in place for several years. Doctors are now recommending to parents that children should remain in rear-facing child safety seats at least age two. The new recommendations also reinforce that children should be restrained in child safety seats with five-point harnesses that buckle across the child’s shoulders, hips and between legs.
Parents should also wait to switch children to booster seats until the child exceeds weight restrictions on the child safety seat with five-point harnesses, and should not move out of a booster seat until they are taller than four feet, nine inches.
The changes came after ER pediatricians began to examine data on injuries children sustain in car accidents, and determined that children were more likely to be injured in front-facing seats.
The federal government is following the medical community’s lead by changing its guidelines on child safety seats as well.
Parents may need to confirm which guidelines they should follow for their young children. The child’s age, weight and height may be factors as to which recommendation is appropriate for the child.
Parents may be concerned to hear that child safety seat guidelines that have been in place for years are changing, but the changes have come about for good reason. Researchers found that children in front-facing car seats in the rear row were much more likely to be injured in a car accident. In fact, child safety seats facing the rear act as a “cocoon” for the child according to the researchers.
If your child has been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.