This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with updated recommendations regarding our children’s car and booster seats. If you’ve had your seat installed or checked by a certified car seat technician with Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin Coalition or Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, then you already may be familiar with these recommendations. They aren’t laws, but they do mirror the best practice messages we teach parents served through our car seat clinic and car seat check events.
The recommendations can get a little confusing, so here’s a breakdown:
- Rear-facing: Your child should stay rear-facing until at least age 2 (longer if he or she still fits within the weight and height of his or her rear-facing seat). If your child outgrows his or her rear-facing infant seat before age 2, move the child into a seat that can remain rear-facing but accommodates higher weights and heights. Many seats now have rear-facing weight capacity that go up to 30-40 pounds. Rear-facing seats offer much more protection in a crash protecting a child’s back, neck and head. One-year-olds are 5 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.
- Forward-facing: Once a child has outgrown his or her rear-facing seat and is at least 2 years old, he or she may be turned forward-facing in a harness seat – preferably a five-point harness. The child should remain in the forward-facing harness seat as long as the child is within the weight and height requirements of the forward-facing seat. Many forward-facing seats now have harnesses that can accommodate children from 50-80 pounds and are taller than they’ve ever been in the past. The five points of contact the harness provides the child offers much more stability in a crash, reducing the risk of injury, than the three points of contact a seat belt provides. Minimum requirement by Wisconsin law says your child must stay in a harness seat until he or she is 4 years old and 40 pounds. If he or she is in a higher weight harness seat, your child can stay in a harness much longer than this minimum requirement. …Continue reading →