Rear-facing vehicle seat guidelines are changed by pediatricians

America's pediatricians have updated their safety guidelines for rear-facing car seats

America's pediatricians have updated their safety guidelines for rear-facing car seats

The new policy also recommends that older kids stay in forward-facing safety seats and booster seats until they reach the maximum height and weight recommended by the manufacturer.

In rear-facing auto seats, the child's head, neck, and spine are protected and supported by the seat's hard shell, which absorbs most of the crash force and protects the body.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is updating its guidelines to keep kids facing the rear longer to decrease the chance of injury or death in a crash. In the press release, he explained that there's not enough data to determine the exact age to transition a child to a forward-facing seat and that keeping your child rear-facing "as long as possible is the best way to keep them safe".

However, re-analysis of the data revealed that the injury numbers were too low to be considered statistically significant, thereby suggesting that there is still no certainty when it comes to the safest age to transition a child from rear-facing to forward-facing auto seats.

Hoffman told NBC News that in the previous year there has been "significant change in what we know about the relative protection of auto seats".


Specifically, he mentioned a 2016 legal case in Texas in which a auto seat manufacturer was held responsible after a 20-month-old suffered severe injuries because the company didn't warn parents about the dangers of the vehicle seat. "This is still the safest way for children to ride", Hoffman added.

Parents are now advised to keep their children's vehicle seats in the rear-facing position for as long as possible, or at least up to the age of 4, according to the AAP's recently updated recommendations.

The AAP also recommends children should use forward-facing auto seats for as long as possible. Many seats can hold kids up to 65 pounds or more. "This is often when they have reached at least 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years old, "the AAP notes". The new findings are based on child size rather than age.

"Car crashes remain a leading cause of death for children", Dr. Hoffman said. Over the last 10 years, 4 children under 14 died each day.

"The study's talking about the developing spinal system and the bones, and how malleable they are, and it's better to have them rear facing for that impact than it is to have them forward facing", Way said.

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