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New Car-Seat Safety Guidelines: What You Need to Know

October 15, 2018

One of the nation’s leading groups of pediatricians recently updated its safety guidelines for child car-seat use.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which previously recommended children travel in rear-facing car seats until they are at least two years old and 30 pounds, now advises parents and caregivers that children should remain in rear-facing car seats for as long as physically suitable.

Christine Frugard, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager at Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s Level II Pediatric Trauma Center helps explain the rationale behind the AAP’s new guidelines - and what it means for families and caregivers of young children.

According to Frugard, rear-facing car seats are designed to encompass the child’s developing head, neck and spine, and in the event of accident, it’s the car seat - not the child – that absorbs the brunt of the impact. Removing the age/weight determinants helps remind parents that the transition between front and rear facing car seats isn’t about milestones; it’s about ensuring children travel in safest manner possible for as long as possible.

The new guidelines encourage parents to keep kids rear-facing until they have reached the maximum height and weight limit listed on their car seat's labels and instruction manual.

Once kids outgrow a rear-facing seat, they should use a forward-facing safety seat with a harness until they reach its height and weight limits. After that, children should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder belt fits properly.

When children are old enough and big enough to use the vehicle's own restraints, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts. For best protection, all children younger than 13 should sit in the rear seat of a car.

Jersey Shore University Medical Center offers car seat safety checks on the first Tuesday of every month from 3 to 7 p.m. All parents and caregivers are welcome to attend, free of charge. No appointment necessary. Click here for more information.

The material provided through Health Hub is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.



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