Latest car seat guidelines

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Do you ever wonder how long your infant/toddler should ride rear-facing? Or when your child is old enough to ride in the front seat?

Using the right car safety seat or booster seat lowers the risk of death or serious injury by more than 70 percent. Here are the LATEST car seat guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Infants and toddlers should ride in a REAR-FACING car safety seat as long as possible, UNTIL THEY REACH THE HIGHEST WEIGHT OR HEIGHT ALLOWED by their seat. Most convertible seats have limits that will allow children to ride rear-facing for 2 YEARS OR MORE. Based on normal growth patterns and seats that allow a maximum weight of 40 pounds rear-facing, this would include all children aged younger than 2 years, and even the majority up to 4 years of age.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, until they reach the height and weight limits for their seats. Many seats can accommodate children up to 65 pounds or more.
  • When children exceed these limits, they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly. This is often when they have reached at least 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years old.
  • When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection. Before allowing your child to use only the seat belt, please make sure the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat, and the lap belt is low and snug across the upper thighs, not the belly.

When can I allow my child to ride in the front passenger seat?

At the age of 13. All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.

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Disclaimer: The content in this blog post is only informational and not to be considered medical advice. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your primary care provider. If you have specific questions, please contact your physician.