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Pregnancy Guide Update Book 5 - Car Seats

Parents have come to think of turning the car seat around on Baby’s first birthday as a rite of passage.  But it turns out, that is way too soon for safety.  The new guidelines are based on studies showing that children under age 2 are 75% less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they ride in a rear-facing car seat.  The new recommendation is to keep Baby in the rear-facing car seat, in the center of the back seat, until s/he reaches age 2 or weighs 40 pounds and so outgrows the seat.  The rear-facing seat provides needed extra support to Baby’s still-developing head, neck and spine. 

Beyond Age 2. At age 2, or when the child outgrows the seat’s height and weight limits, a toddler’s neck is strong enough for a larger forward-facing seat, but Baby still always rides in the back seat.  Keep all youngsters in a car-seat in the back seat as long as they meet the height and weight limit for the seat; some models now accommodate up to 85 pounds, perhaps age 8.  Car seats reduce the risk of injury by 82%. 

When they outgrow the car seat, children graduate to a booster seat to properly position the car’s seatbelt.  Keep them on the booster, in the back seat, until they reach 4 feet 9” – at that point, the car’s seat belt system provides protection.   Still, keep in mind automobile seatbelts and airbags are designed to protect the average adult.  Reduce risk to passengers of less-than-adult stature by up to 70% by seating them in the back seat, and even more by giving them an adult booster seat.   

Beginnings Pregnancy Guide’s 2007 edition, in accordance with previous guidelines says:

Infants up to age 1 year weighing less than 20 pounds ride in a car seat facing the back of the car. Box page 64 

The 2011 edition will reflect the new guideline:
Infants ride in the back seat, in a car seat facing the rear, until they weigh 40 pounds, around their second birthday.

References
The new guidelines from American Academy of Pediatrics will appear in the April 2011 edition of Pediatrics National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus News Release

Keep Kids in Rear-Facing Car Seats until 2, Experts Say. March 21, 2011. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_1100076.html   

American Academy of Pediatrics.  Car Safety Seats: Information for Families for 2011 http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx
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