New Car Seat Safety Recommendations for 2018
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published new car seat safety guidelines as of August 30, 2018. They have updated their recommendations to state that children should remain rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height (whichever they reach first) for their seat. Previously the AAP recommended rear-facing until at least age 2, but with these new guidelines, many children can and should remain rear facing much longer.
You may be wondering – why is rear-facing important? Infants and toddlers have heads of disproportionate weight to the rest of their body. Rear-facing seats help to better cradle the head during a crash, therefore protecting the neck and spine from injury. Neck and spine injuries are some of the most devastating and heart-breaking injuries we care for in the emergency department.
As Emergency Physicians, we are thrilled with these new recommendations. Car accidents remain a major cause of death and disability for children under age 15 and this evidence-based policy recommendation guides parents in proper restraint use to protect their child. Please check your specific seat for the height and weight limits for rear-facing installation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association has published guidelines, recommendations and can even help set up an installation inspection. See their website for further information.