March 21, 2011
Rear-facing Cart Seats For All Kids Under 2 Suggested
Pediatricians said on Monday that kids should sit in rear-facing car seats as long as they fit, or until the age of two.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommended that after that, children should ride in booster seats up to age eight or if they are still too small to fit correctly in seat belts.
"The best possible thing you can do is keep your child rear-facing as long as possible," said Dr. Benjamin Hoffman of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which issued the policy statement.
"We hope we will be able to convince parents to keep their children rear-facing longer."
The pediatricians' old 2002 recommendations advised parents to follow car seat manufacturer limits, but also mentioned one year and 20 pounds as a minimum.
Hoffman told Reuters that the 2002 recommendations led to some confusion among some parents, who would use the one-year cut-off as a milestone for when to make their child ride forward facing.
"The message, while it's been consistent, has not been as clear as it could have been for parents," he added.
The new statement said that 1,500 kids under 16 die every year in car crashes in the U.S.
Child safety seats have been shown to cut the risk of death by 28 percent compared with seatbelts, and they also reduce non-fatal injuries.
Hoffman told Reuters that he usually compares the situation to the difference between pushing on your cheek with one finger versus the entire palm.
According to the new recommendations, which were published in the journal Pediatrics, infants should ride in rear-facing care safety seats until age two or until they reach the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer.
They also recommend that they should ride in forward-facing car seats with a harness until age four or until they have outgrown the seat.
Dr. Dennis Durbin, lead author of the pediatric recommendations, said that about 1,000 children injured in forward-facing seats over 15 years might not have been hurt if they had been in a car seat facing the back.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a separate set of recommendations on Monday as well that coincides with the American Academy of Pediatrics statement.
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