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New AAP guidelines advise kids to ride in rear-facing car seats longer

Even a quick drive to the grocery store can be dangerous if your child isn’t buckled in safely. Proper restraint systems like car seats and seat belts can greatly reduce childhood injury from car crashes. On Aug. 30, The American Academy of Pediatrics issued updated guidelines with evidence-based recommendations for proper car seat safety:

  • Children should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, up to the limits of their car safety seat. This will include virtually all children under 2 years of age and most children up to age 4.
  • Once they have been turned around, children should remain in a forward-facing car safety seat up to that seat’s weight and length limits. Most seats can accommodate children up to 60 pounds or more.
  • When they exceed these limits, child passengers should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they can use a seat belt that fits correctly.
  • Once they exceed the booster limits and are large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use a lap and shoulder belt.
  • All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
Kristin Tesmer