Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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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 ( 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.



  • ed newell

    same folks who gave us “back to sleep”?
    who formerly advised for more than 3 decades to put kids to sleep on their belly?
    my kids gonna be miffed she’ll be in highschool in a booster seat.

  • Amanda

    I would never be able to get in the car with my daughter if she had to ride facing the back. My daughter’s car seat is secured tighter facing forward than it was rear facing. And I certainly don’t think I would be a twelve year old in a booster seat…