Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.
Subscribe to the Healthy Life Virginia newsletter: fredericksburg.com/gethealthy
New car seat guidelines
In case you missed it: The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised its policy on how long toddlers should stay in rear-facing car seats — and how long bigger kids should stay in booster seats.
First, the news on toddlers: The new recommendations say young children should stay in rear-facing seats until they reach age 2 or the maximum weight and height the manufacturer says is safe for the seat — information parents can usually find on the back or side of the seat. Previously, the AAP said children should stay in rear-facing seats as long as possible, and at least until they hit 20 pounds and their first birthday. Many parents figured the first birthday was a good time to make the switch.
But the AAP says a study has shown that children under 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or be seriously hurt in a car accident if they’re in a rear-facing seat. Thus, the new recommendation.
Rear-facing infant-only seats are safe for babies up to 35 pounds, depending on the model, says an AAP website (healthychildren.org). Rear-facing convertible seats — which can later be converted into front-facing seats – are safe for children who weight 30-40 pounds, depending on the model.
As for bigger kids, the AAP wants them to stay in booster seats until they’ve reached 4’9″ tall and are between 8 and 12 years old. Kids should ride in the backseat until they’re 13, the group says.
Read more at http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/carseat2011.htm