New recommendations out today say children should ride in rear-facing car seats until they’re 2 years old, and children who’ve outgrown front-facing seats should remain in booster seats until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued separate but consistent findings that older children — sometimes as old as 12 — should remain in booster seats longer until a car’s lap-shoulder belt fits them properly based on crash evidence, which found that older children with ill-fitting belts can suffer from abdominal and spinal injuries in a crash.
Both groups also say that children under 13 should stay in the back seat.
For one-year-olds in front-facing car seats, they are five times more likely to be injured in a crash than if they were rear-facing, according to a 2007 analysis of five years of U.S. crash data. Because of the relatively large size of toddlers’ heads and their small necks, if they are front-facing they are more likely to suffer spinal cord injuries from the force of a crash.
For 1-year-olds who outweigh the recommendation of an infant seat, they should be switched to a different rear-facing seat that will accommodate their weight until age 2.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations appear today in the journal Pediatrics.
How will your tween feel about getting strapped into a booster seat?
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