Choosing a car seat, properly installing it, and ensuring that it meets current safety guidelines: These are all important tasks – and potential challenges – for parents and caregivers with young children.
A car seat can protect a child in the event of a motor vehicle accident, potentially preventing serious injuries and deaths.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently provided an updated recommendation regarding rear-facing car seats, which are used for young children:
- In the past, the AAP recommended that children stay in a rear-facing car seat until reaching 2 years of age.
- The new guidelines recommend that children remain in rear-facing car seats as long as possible, until they reach the height and weight limits for the particular car seat. This would mean that most children up to age 4 should remain in a rear-facing car seat.
This updated recommendation is based on research that shows a decreased risk of serious injury and death in accidents where a young child in seated in a rear-facing car seat.
According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. Among children ages 1-4, unintentional drownings were the most common cause of death, followed by motor vehicle accidents. Among children ages 5-9, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death.
Keeping children safe while riding in cars is critically important. Drivers are more distracted than ever. There are more cars on the road than ever before. Keeping the most vulnerable safe in cars should be a priority for parents, caregivers, and ultimately, all drivers.