Keep your child in rear-facing seats for as long as possible

Car Seat Safety: Why Your Children Should Remain Rear-Facing For As Long As They Possibly Can

If you’re like most new parents, you may be wondering when’s the best time to transition from rear-facing to forward-facing car seat. The previous recommendation was when your child reaches the age of two. However, there’s a big shift in the car safety seat guidelines that will make a difference in saving your baby’s life.

The new guidelines for car seats set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend waiting until your child has reached the weight and size limitation of his rear-facing safety seat. The reason for this is because children are the safest when they are rear-facing.

What You Need To Know About The New Guideline

According to the AAP, parents should wait a while before switching their children to forward-facing safety seats because their precious ones will be safer in rear-facing. Here are the essential things you need to know about the new car seat guide:

  • Children should use the rear-face seat until they reached the height and weight restrictions set by the manufacturer. Make sure to read the instruction manual to find out the limitations.
  • Once your child is ready to transition into the front-facing seat, he should use a car safety seat for as long as he could. Usually, these seats can cater children for up to 64 lbs.
  • Once your toddler has reached the weight or height restrictions of both seats, he should shift to a belt-positioning booster seat until such time that he is old enough to fit properly in your vehicle’s own seat belt. Often, when kids reach a height of 4 ft and 9 in tall.

Why It’s Safer To Use Rear-Facing Car Seats

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that frontal impacts amount to about 60% of vehicle crashes while side impacts are roughly 20%. Furthermore, BMJ Injury Prevention made a study recently which compared fifteen years of injury data and statistics related to car crashes that involve kids under two years old. The study reveals that the risk of severe injury for infants below one-year-old in a front-face seat was 1.79 times higher compared to babies using a rear-face seat. On the other hands, the odds for children 12 to 23 months old is much higher at 5.23 times.

According to numerous research, 75% of children below 23 months and below are less likely to sustain injury or die during a collision when they are in a rear-facing seat instead of a front-facing one. The force of the crash is spread more evenly in the back of the rear-face seat and the body of your child. It can also help minimize the movement of your baby’s head thus reducing the danger of whiplash kind of neck and spinal injuries. Your child will also be protected from possibly dangerous glass or any items in your vehicle that are unsecured that may bounce around during the accident.

The ligaments and bones of younger are still developing so they are more prone to spinal and head injuries during a car crash. Moreover, your baby’s head is also proportionately bigger than his neck which makes the system of his structural support still a bit unbalanced. Your baby’s head, neck, and spine will be more supported in a rear-facing safety seat. In addition, it will also prevent children’s head from being thrown away from their bodies in case of an accident.

Today, a lot of car seat manufacturers, create rear-face seats that can support children that weighs more than 40 lbs such as the Graco Extend2Fit. This allows you to use it until your child is about four years old. It is essential to do your research first before purchasing a safety seat. Choose a car seat from the most popular rear and forward facing car seats of 2019 that will be able to provide your little one the best protection.

The Bottom Line

Most parents think that the right time for their kids to use a front-facing seat is once they switch from an infant carrier to a convertible car seat. However, there is plenty of research, facts, and evidence that says otherwise. You can provide the best protection for your child by keeping him in a rear-facing car seat for as long as he possibly can, or until such time he has reached the weight and height limitations set by the manufacturer. It is the safest choice and can save your baby’s life in the event of a crash.

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