BETHESDA, MD (CBSMiami) – Parents with young children have been given new recommendations for using car seats.
Natasha Young is the mother of a five year old. She’s also a certified technician for Safe Kids Worldwide and teaches other parents how to properly install a car seat. She says it’s vital to keep young children in a rear facing seat.
“Because it helps to protect them in the event of a crash, it keeps their head and neck safe,” she said. “It’s really important to keep them rear facing as long as possible.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics is now updating its guidelines to reflect that. The group used to recommend rear facing seats until at least age 2. Now the academy wants parents to keep children in rear facing seats until they reach the max height and weight limit, even if they’re older than two.
“Even if their children’s legs are longer than the car seat, they can easily folder their legs up into the car seat and it’s actually much safer for their legs,” said Young.
The new policy also recommends older kids stay in forward-facing safety seats and booster seats until they reach the max height and weight recommended by the manufacturer.
When it comes to rear-facing seats, Young says parents often make the mistake of turning their kids around too soon.
“A lot of times they want to see their child, entertain their child, especially if they are a little more fussy,” she said.
Young says a little fussiness is better than putting a child at risk of being injured in a crash.