The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in rear-facing child seats at least until two years of age. This is a change to their previous recommendation of 1-year-old or 20 pounds.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has even broadened that recommendation and they say that children should ride in rear-facing seats as long as possible.
Why are rear-facing child seats safer?
The reason that rear-facing child seats are safer is that, in a car accident, they provide more support of a child’s neck, head and spine.
Even with these recommendations, it is not easy for parents to keep their child in a rear-facing seat. Many rear-facing seats are only designed to 20 pounds and a 2-year-old can often weight 40 pounds or more. Or, a child who is tall but is skinny, may outgrow a seat long before they reach the weight that the seat is rated for. Therefore, parents may be required to purchase more than one car seat while their child is young.
Purchasing a child safety seat is often a confusing problem for many parents. A child must fit the seat and the seat must fit the car. This sounds like an easy objective to achieve, but it can be more difficult than one might thing.
One federal study found that, in up to 73% of the cases, child seats were not even installed in cars properly.
Parents are encouraged to consult Consumer Reports for information on child seat protection, ease of use and fit in various motor vehicles.
This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those killed.