A policy statement with new car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics may surprise some people.
The policy statement, 'Child Passenger Safety,' is to be published in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics and states that:
- infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are two years old or reach the weight and height limits for the car seat
- children should sit in a forward-facing car seat until they reach the weight and height limits for the car seat
- use a booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches (57 inches) tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age, when regular seat belts are most likely to fit properly
While many parents are used to transitioning to forward-facing car seats once their children are 12 months and 20 pounds, it is important to keep in mind that the AAP has long recommended that 'for optimal protection,' toddlers stay rear-facing until they reach the limits of their car seat. The automatic transition to a booster seat at 4 years or 40 pounds has also not been an AAP recommendation lately, as they have said that kids should sit in a forward-facing car seat with a full harness as long as they fit, which is usually well after 40 pounds.
So while the latest AAP car seat recommendations may be a surprise for some parents and may mean that some kids have to move to a new car seat or move back to their previous car seat, for many other parents and pediatricians who have been keeping up with the latest safety advise, the new AAP car seat recommendations will seem like old news.