New guidelines for young children in vehicle seats

Pediatricians drop age limit for rear-facing car seats

Once children reach the height or weight limit and shift to a forward-facing seat, they should use safety seats with harnesses for as long as possible, often up to 65 pounds. Many vehicle seats can accommodate kids up to 65 pounds or more.

Young said that when it comes to rear-facing seats, parents often make the mistake of turning their kids around too soon.

"It's best to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. This is still the safest way for children to ride".

"Even if their children's legs are longer than the vehicle seat, they can easily folder their legs up into the auto seat and it's actually much safer for their legs", says Natasha Young of Safe Kids Worldwide. The longer you can do that, the better off they are. "This is still the safest way for children to ride".

According to a Thursday press release from the AAP, the new recommendations came after the organization found that the journal Injury Prevention retracted the study on which the academy's previous guidelines were based. "We've actually had the girls rear facing for quite a while. The AAP determined to update its solutions to reflect how the science has evolved", the group said. "But that also means we just don't have a large enough set of data to determine with certainty at what age it is safest to turn children to be forward-facing".

Now, instead of stating that children should be seated in rear-facing seats until the age of 2, the American Academy of Pediatrics said that parents should consider the child's weight instead of their age.

Auto seats can be tricky. Rear-facing seats, on the other hand, are better at absorbing the impact of a crash. He added that it would be wise to put kids in auto seats as long as possible for their safety. When a child is approaching one of those limits, it is time to think about transitioning to the next stage. "Over the last 10 years, 4 children under 14 and younger died each day", Hoffman wrote.

Every auto seat transition reduces the amount of protection a child has in the event of a crash, the AAP said.

In an interview with NBC News, Hoffman said he's aware parents enjoy checking off these milestones for their kids, but he recommends taking a step back to make sure they're adhering to the academy's guidelines. However, using a auto seat that is appropriate for a child's size reduces the risk of fatalities and serious injuries by over 70 percent.

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