Car Safety Guidelines: What’s New

BY  |  Monday, Mar 21, 2011 1:00pm

Since having my first child seven years ago, so many rules have changed. From pregnancy rules to child safety rules, a parent has to keep up with the latest information. One very important safety guideline is the American Academy of Pediatric’s car safety guidelines for children. It used to be that your baby should be rear-facing until a year old, but the AAP has found that sitting rear-facing is much safer and should be done longer:

The AAP recommends that all infants should ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Safety Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.

All children 2 years or older, or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car safety seat, should use a Forward-Facing Car Safety Seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.

When your child grows out of the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time for a booster seat. Here are the new guidelines for those:

All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car safety seat should use a Belt-Positioning Booster Seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age. So your tweens should be in a booster, unless they’re really tall.

When your kids is old enough and large enough (large enough is key) they can use a regular seat belt–lap and shoulder a must. The AAP recommends that kids under 13-years-old sit in the backseat.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that close to 3 out of 4 parents do not properly use child restraints, which means that even if you follow the safety guidelines above, that child safety seat may not protect your child the way it should. It’s a good idea to brign it to an inspection station to have an expert check it out. Here’s Baristaville’s inspection station:

Essex County Car Seat Inspection Station
120 Dorsa Avenue
Livingston, NJ 07039
 Hours: Wednesdays, 9 am – 3:30 pm
Contact: Patty DiFilippo

(Photo: Flickr/mollypop)

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