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AAP Makes New Child Safety Seat Recommendations

New recommendations on keeping children safe on the road have been made by the American Academy of Pediatrics. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more…

If you’re thinking about turning your one-year-old’s car seat around to face the front, the American Academy of Pediatrics wants you to think again.At the recent National Highway Safety Conference, the AAP advised parents to keep their children in rear-facing seats until their 2nd birthday. New research indicates that toddlers are more than five times safer riding rear-facing in a car safety seat up to age two.Pam Holt is Trauma Prevention Coordinator at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield…

"It's not that much different than what we've already been saying. We had been saying 'keep your child rear-facing as long as possible until they outgrow their rear-facing convertible seat,' so the recommendation they came out with was just them solidifyingthat, yes, children are safer, five times safer, riding rear-facing until their 2nd birthday."

According to Holt, research came out in the journal “Injury Prevention” in 2007 that found that younger children are safer in rear-facing seats…

"What happens when a child rides rear-facing, is the car seat cradles their body, protecting their head and their spinal cord, so we see much fewer injuries to children riding rear-facing, and to be quite honest, children in Europe, children in Australia, they ride rear-facing until they're four-years-old."

Holt also says car seat manufacturers are trending towards keeping older children in a 5-point harness. Currently, the harness weight maximum is 40 pounds. She says most car seat manufacturers are raising the weight limits to as much as 80 pounds…

"So, they could be in the first grade before they come out of the five-point harness, then put them in the booster seat until they're four-foot-nine."

According to Holt, those are best practice recommendations—they’re not the law. She says the law doesn’t provide a maximum level of safety. The law is the minimum.