When I was a kid decades ago, we didn’t have car seats. I remember jumping on the seat as a youngster with my sisters while my mother yelled at us from the front seat to sit down and stop acting silly. I can’t ever remember actually seeing seat belts in most of the cars we owned either. If we had them, they certainly weren’t used. I’m sure many of the adults reading this have similar memories.
Times have changed. Children are now in car seats until a certain age and everyone is supposed to wear seat belts. Because of new studies being done on car seat safety, the laws about car seat use in children seem to change often. Let’s face it, it’s hard to keep up to date on the latest studies, laws and recommendations to keep your children safe but it’s necessary.
On Friday, our pediatrician told me that the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that all children ride rear-facing until the age of 2. This recommendation is based upon research that shows that toddlers are 5 times safer riding this way than forward facing.
It should be noted that as of this time, this is just a recommendation, not a law!
The Academy suggests using a larger car seat with a rear facing limit up to 35 pounds once your child has outgrown his infant car seat. Why rear facing? Supposedly, rear facing seats are better at preventing injuries to the head, neck and spinal cord. Also, rear facing seats protect children better in side impact crashes.
My first thought was that my toddler would be bored facing the back of the car. I guess it is a good thing his older sisters will be in the seat behind him to keep him amused with their antics. This must be a common concern for many parents because the Academy suggests that parents “combat boredom using toys, music, conversation or other distractions to make the ride more fun.” While these suggestions sound good, I’m not really sure how they will work out in “the real world”, especially since my toddler has been forward facing for quite a while. Change doesn’t go over very well when you are two years old.
Car seat safety and safety laws are very confusing to me because there are many types of car seats and different recommendations for different ages. Because of this, most experts suggest that you make sure your car seat is installed correctly by having your seat examined at a car seat safety check point.
Our local children’s hospital has a link here where you can read about current car seat safety laws, learn about car seat safety check points, and watch a video on installing a car seat correctly. I found the information here very helpful and I hope it’s helpful to you!
I am curious to find out if your family intends to follow the new car seat safety recommendations. Do you agree or do you think the new recommendations are a little to rigorous?