The American Academy of Pediatrics Has Just Released New Safety Guidelines for Car Seats

Pop quiz: how long do children have to be in their car seats? It’s a question that all parents and grandparents of youngsters should be able to answer, but, sadly it seems that not everyone is doing their part to keep our youngest riders safe. To prove this, the CDC conducted a study and quickly came upon a disturbing trend; the agency found that over half a million children had ridden in a car completely unrestrained in just one year alone.

It’s a shocking fact and one that shows us that there simply isn’t enough education out there. If more people knew that car crashes are the leading cause of death for children of all ages, maybe the number wouldn’t be so high.

Now, we know that you are definitely not one of “those people” who put their kids at risk by skipping the safety belts, but that doesn’t mean that you are fully educated on the newest car seat safety guidelines.

How do we know this? Well, because the American Association of Pediatrics just released updated recommendations on car seats–and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the recommendations are a heck of a lot stricter than they used to be!

For instance, the AAP is now striking all that they had to say previously about age and height/weight guidelines. Before, the association granted parents the right to move their kids up a car seat or off of car seats entirely, if they reached a specified age, but now the group is saying that age doesn’t really matter, it’s all about the weight and height. These measurements don’t vary too much, but they are specified by the manufacturer.

Surprised? Well, wait until you hear the AAP’s recommendation on rear-facing car seats. But more on that later…

Fast facts about car seat safety

Before we delve into the rear-facing car seat changes, let’s take a quick look at these car seat safety facts, via Safe Kids:

  • In 2016, 3,183 children died as occupants of motor vehicles during collisions, at a rate of 3.88 per 100,000 children

  • For the 2,839 child fatalities where restrained use was known and applicable in 2016, 44 percent were unrestrained, and teens were less likely to be restrained than those under 14 years. The proportions of unrestrained fatalities by age group were 48 percent for teens, 43 percent for children ages 9 to 13 years, and 26 percent for children under 9 years.

  • It is estimated that in 2015 seat belts saved the lives of 13,941 children ages 5 and older, while child restraint systems were responsible for saving another 266 children under age 5.

  • When installed and used correctly, child safety seats decrease the risk of a fatal injury by 71 percent among infants, 54 percent among toddlers and 45 percent among children ages 4 to 8.

Those are some powerful facts that, we hope, will motivate you to keep your little ones as safe as possible in the car. To learn even more about these new car seat safety recommendations, particularly the rear-facing car seat age change, be sure to watch the video below. Remember, with topics like these, sharing is caring, folks. Let all of the moms and dads in your life know about these changes!

We’d love to hear your take on these new car seat safety recommendations. Are you surprised by the changes? Will you follow them? Was your child’s life saved by a car seat?