New Car Seat Guidelines Focus On Height, Weight

Alicia Farmer
September 1, 2018

Now, however, the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its recommendation and encourages parents to keep children in rear-facing auto seats until they reach the seat's highest weight or height limit, which is estimated to be about when children reach age four. That data was supported by biometric research, crash simulation data and experience in Europe where children ride rear facing for longer periods.

The AAP's new guidelines are encouraging parents to keep kids rear-facing until they have reached the maximum height and weight limit listed on their vehicle seat's labels and instruction manual.

Parents are now advised to keep their children's auto seats in the rear-facing position for as long as possible, or at least up to the age of 4, according to the AAP's recently updated recommendations. "It protects the head, neck and spine better in a crash". "This is still the safest way for children to ride", Hoffman added in the statement released by the AAP. She said she agrees with having no age limit, but she thinks a child's own capability should be taken into consideration. He's chairman of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. "The AAP chose to update its recommendations to reflect how the science has evolved", the organization said.

"Kids are actually safer rear-facing, not just their head, neck and spine, but also their legs, so it's perfectly fine if kids' legs hit the back of the vehicle seat", Chausmer said. "One of the biggest risks would be damage to their brain and their spinal cord, which could be debilitating, if not a fatal injury for a child", Johnson said. But on Thursday, the AAP announced children should remain in rear-facing auto seats for "as long as possible", adding that "new recommendation removes the specific age milestone".

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"Car crashes remain a leading cause of death for children. Over the last 10 years, 4 children under 14 and younger died each day", Hoffman wrote.

Those looking to confirm the height and weight limits of their auto seats can typically look in the product's manuals or on its labels (be sure to check your state's child passenger safety law, too).

In an interview with NBC News, Hoffman said he's aware parents enjoy checking off these milestones for their kids, but he recommends taking a step back to make sure they're adhering to the academy's guidelines.

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