Whether it’s a quick drive to the grocery store or a long trip to the cabin, keeping kids safe while in the car is top of mind for parents.
Proper restraint systems like car seats and seat belts can greatly reduce childhood injury from car crashes. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued updated guidelines for car seat safety. Read on for recommendations to keep your children of all ages safe in the car.
- Infants and toddlers: Parents should keep their children in rear-facing car seats as long as possible. This includes nearly all children under age 2 and most children up to age 4. Most car seats brands now have seats that allow children up to 40 pounds to remain rear facing.
- Toddlers and preschoolers: Once children have outgrown a rear-facing car seat, they should continue to ride in a car seat until they reach the seat’s length and weight limits, which is usually 65 pounds or more.
- School-aged children: When kids outgrow their car seat limits, they should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until a seat belt will fit them correctly. Seat belts will usually fit children between the ages 8 and 12 years old who are taller than 4 feet 9 inches.
- Adolescents and teens: Once kids exceed the limits of a booster seat, they can use the vehicle seat belts alone, but should always use both the lap and shoulder belt. All children under the age of 13 should remain in the rear seats of the vehicle.
If you have questions about what car seat or booster seat is right for your child, ask your pediatrician at your next well-child check. Schedule your well-child exam today.