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AAP Updates Car Seat Regulations

October 11th, 2018

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released an updated policy regarding car seat safety. This updated recommendation states that children should remain rear-facing as long as possible, not just until their second birthday. As car seats evolve, we are seeing overall higher weight limits in all positions. Many, not all, rear-facing seats have weight limits of 40 pounds or more.  This means that most children can remain rear-facing until well past their second birthday. When a child is placed in a rear-facing position in the car, the head, neck and spine are all supported by the hard shell of the car seat, protecting the most vulnerable body parts.  Rear-facing allows the car seat to absorb most of the crash forces that can result during a car accident. Parents will often complain that their child’s legs are getting too long or that they are kicking the seat back. In the end, a leg injury is most likely easier to fix than a head or neck injury.

Things to consider when deciding on car seat selection and placement:

  • Always read the car seat instruction manual thoroughly – this will give you all the important information regarding car seat weight and height limits in both the forward facing and rear facing positions.  Keep your child in either rear facing or forward facing with the 5-point harness until the reach the upper weight limits for that position.
  • Don’t be eager to transition to the next “step.”  As you transition from rear facing to forward facing, the level of protection provided by the car seat decreases.  The same is true when going from a 5-point harness to just using a shoulder lap belt.  Keep your child in the 5-point harness until they reach the weight limit for the harness.
  • It is also important to know what the LATCH (Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children) weight limit is for both your car seat and your vehicle.  Use the lowest weight of the two.  Once this weight limit has been reached, the car seat should be installed using the safety belt.

To learn more about car seat safety or to consult one of our certified car seat technicians, please contact the Good Sam Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility at 631-376-4109.