Pediatrics group updates child safety seat recommendations

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new recommendations for how long children should ride in car seats.

The AAP announced that children should be placed in a rear-facing car seat until two years of age, or until the child reaches the height and weight requirement by the manufacturer of the car seat.

The previous recommendation was that children could be switched to a forward facing car seat when they turned one.

According to the AAP, new research has found children are safer in rear-facing car seats.  A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention showed that children under age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing.

"It's better overall for the safety of the kids when they are in an accident if they are facing rear because the pressure if not just on their head and neck, it is distributed over the body," said Saint Francis Hospital Pediatrician Shylaha Nuguri.

Furthermore, the AAP suggests that children under the age of 13 should sit in the back and that children should sit in a booster seat until they are at least 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches.

The AAP says that children should transition from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness, until they reach the maximum weight or height for that seat. Then a booster will make sure the vehicle's lap-and-shoulder belt fit properly. The shoulder belt should lie across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not near the neck or face. The lap belt should fit low and snug on the hips and upper thighs, not across the belly.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.