Pediatricians Drop Age Limit For Rear-Facing Car Seats

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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.

The new guidelines recommend turning the auto seat from rear facing to front facing depending on the height and weight of your child, instead of just making the change based on their age. A re-analysis of the data found that while rear-facing still appeared to be safer than forward-facing for children younger than 2, the injury numbers were too low to reach statistical significance.

The group used to recommend seats going backwards until at least age 2, but new guidelines are based on height and weight. This would help in the event of 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". She says it's vital to keep young children in a rear-facing seat.

In this undated stock photo, a mom buckles her infant son safely into a rear facing auto seat as they get ready to drive somewhere in their vehicle. Most kids are big enough to ride in a auto without any safety equipment when they reach about 4 feet 9 inches tall. The AAP made a decision to update its recommendations to reflect how the science has evolved.

"Every month that a child rides rear-facing a little bit longer gives more time for the head, neck and spine to develop", Kerry Chausmer, director of certification at Safe Kids, told "GMA".

Ultimately, Hoffman said, the AAP best practice is that parents should delay transitioning children from rear-facing vehicle seats because rear-facing is safer.

Unlike with rear-facing seats, in forward-facing seats, a toddler's head - which is "disproportionately large and heavy" - is thrown forward in a crash, which could lead towards spine and head injuries. "Over the last 10 years, 4 children under 14 and younger died each day", Hoffman wrote. "He's kind of a bigger kid, so he'll probably hit the height and weight requirement, you know, sooner", Byrne said.

She also wants to remind parents that the price of the vehicle seat is not as important as checking that it's been crash tested and meets all safety standards before purchasing a new auto seat.

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