American Academy of Pediatrics Updates Car Seat Guidance

FRIDAY, Sept. 7, 2018 — The American Academy of Pediatrics’ updated car seat guidelines recommend children remain in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, according to policy statement published online Aug. 30 in Pediatrics.

Dennis R. Durbin, M.D., and Benjamin D. Hoffman, M.D., along with members of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention, provide evidence-based recommendations for best practices in the choice of a child restraint system to optimize safety in passenger vehicles for children from birth through adolescence.

The updated recommendations include the following: (1) rear-facing car safety seats as long as possible; (2) forward-facing car safety seats from the time they outgrow rear-facing seats (for most children through at least 4 years of age); (3) belt-positioning booster seats from the time they outgrow forward-facing seats (for most children through at least 8 years of age); (4) lap and shoulder seat belts for all who have outgrown booster seats; and (5) all children younger than 13 years should ride in the rear seats of vehicles.

“It is important to note that every transition is associated with some decrease in protection; therefore, parents should be encouraged to delay these transitions for as long as possible,” the authors write.

Technical Report
Policy Statement

Posted: September 2018

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