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Monday, March 21, 2011

New Car Seat Regulations

The American Academy of Pediatrics and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued separate but consistent new recommendations Monday.

Infants should ride rear facing till age two. This recommendation isn’t exactly new as it was just a suggestion when my little one was one, so I kept him rear facing till 22 months when everyone else had already turned their kids around when they turned one. I understood the reasoning – that young children’s spine and neck cannot handle the jerk that can occur during a crash. Severe neck and spinal injuries have occurred to young children because their heads are so large.

One-year-olds are five times less likely to be injured in a crash if they are in a rear-facing car seat than a forward-facing seat, according to a 2007 analysis of five years of U.S. crash data.

Make sure your child’s weight does not exceed the infant car seat’s weight limit. If the child’s weight does, then you need to purchase a convertible seat that can be used both rear and forward facing. When purchasing a car seat for an infant, the most cost effective way is to just buy a convertible seat that can accommodate both infants up through the toddler stage and can be turned around to face forward. Luckily there are more and more seats being produced that can do both.

Older children who've outgrown front-facing car seats should ride in booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits them. Booster seats help position adult seat belts properly on children's smaller frames. If the seat belt doesn’t fit properly it can cause serious internal injuries during a crash.

Children usually can graduate from a booster seat when their height reaches 4 feet 9 inches. This can occur between years of 8 and 12. Children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.

I can hear the groans from both parents and children. Try to convince a 12 year old he has to ride in a booster seat and in the back seat? Good luck with that, right? Well, it may very well be something we must insist on to keep them safe.

Think you can’t do that? Here’s a little thought that might help you.

Think about the parents whose children who were killed in car crashes who may have survived had they followed these guidelines – kept their children in the booster seat in the back. I think if they could go back and do it all over again, they would have made their children ride in the booster seat no matter what.

It may be hard to convince my son of why I am insisting he stays in a booster seat and can’t ride up front when his friends can, but I must keep in mind it’s better to have him mad at me then for him to be dead.

It may seem hard to make our kids follow these new rules, but it's better than the alternative - picking out a child size casket.


  1. This is information that all parents should know. It's hard to swallow that a twelve year old sits in a seat, but it should be anything that keeps them safe.

  2. Thank you for agreeing. Many parents have commented in other places that it's ridiculous, too hard, unneccessary, etc. I think doing the things to keep our children safe may not always be easy, but they are certainly worth it.

  3. Good information to set out. I don't let me 11 yr-old niece sit up front when she comes to visit.

  4. I'm sure your niece's parents are so glad she has someone like you who looks out for her, Neil.



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