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New Guidelines for Car Seats Promote Safety

Steve Wagner

Car Seat Safety Plays Important Role in Preventing Accident Injuries

Over the years, several guidelines have been released for determining whether or not a child’s safety seat is the appropriate size, positioned correctly, or if a seat can be used after being involved in an accident. Some things haven’t changed though. We know car crashes remain a leading cause of death for children but using the correct car safety seat or booster seat will lower the risk of death or serious injury by more than 70 percent. The hope is that as crash statistics are more readily collected and child seat technologies advance, what we know today and can offer to Wagner Reese blog readers will be life-saving information.

2018 Car Seat Guidelines Have Been Updated

New research has led to a big change in child car seat guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group believes the most recent updated car seat guidelines will save lives by demanding children ride in rear-facing car seats until they reach the height or weight limit for the seat. Previous guidance said that young passengers of all motor vehicles should ride in rear-facing seats until at least age 2. The new guidelines say:

  • Children should remain in rear-facing seats until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the seat manufacturer. Find the seat limits in the instruction manual.
  • Once children reach the height or weight limit and shift to a forward-facing seat, they should use safety seats with harnesses for as long as possible, often up to 65 pounds.
  • When children exceed height or weight limits for those seats, they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the lap and shoulder belts fit properly, often when the child has reached 4 feet 9 inches in height.

Rear-facing car seats are the best seat for young children to use and should be used as long as possible. These seats have a harness and, in the event of a crash will cradle and move a child to reduce the stress to their neck as well as spinal cord injuries. The Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes these three types of rear-facing car seats.

  1. Infant Car Seat (Rear-Facing only):Designed for newborns and small babies, the infant-only car seat is a small, portable seat that can only be used rear-facing. Babies usually outgrow their infant car seats by 8 or 9 months. When that happens, we recommend that parents purchase a convertible or all-in-one car seat and use it rear-facing.
  2. Convertible Seat: As a child grows, this seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
  3. All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.

Safety groups like the NHTSA recommend that “child safety seats be replaced when expired or following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of protection.”

Help us protect our littlest passengers by taking these new car seat guidelines and recommendations seriously. We also invite you to share our findings with other parents and caregivers in your life.

Wagner Reese – Car Accident Injury Attorneys

We know car seats can be a big expense, but aren’t they much less costly than an injury or the loss of your child? If your child has been injured because of a faulty seat, or because of the negligence of another driver, the child injury attorneys at Wagner Reese are here to assist you.

Connect with us by submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information and respond promptly. If you wish to speak directly with us, please call 1-888-710-9377.

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