Monday, March 21, 2011

AAP updates guidelines to save lives

The American Academy of Pediatrics, in their April 2011 issue of Pediatrics have come closer to help ensure safer passenger safety for your children. Previously the AAP had recommended that babies aged 1 and over and 20 pounds were safe to move forward facing. Now, in their latest, their recommended policy is to advise parents to keep their children rear facing until at least age 2.

Often, I hear parents complain that their children are uncomfortable. First, I can understand that thought, since by age one most babies can kick the back of the seat. However, if you look at many kids in their carseats, they choose to sit cross legged anyway. As a short person, I can tell you, that as an adult, I hate my legs dangling!

Next, comfort shouldn't be the main concern in the car. Safety should be. By rear facing, the neck and spine are better supported. There is evidence and research that indicates that children are up to 70 percent safer when properly secured in a rear-facing seat.

This is not new research. Children in Sweden and New Zealand have been in rear facing seats longer, some up to age 4 or 5.

Finally, for families who start out in a "bucket" seat, it does mean that purchasing a larger rear-facing seat will be needed. However, this can be prevented by purchasing a Convertable seat from birth. Many seats actually fit new born babies quite well. It also helps ensure that babies are not spending too much time on their backs, since many families who have "bucket" seats tend to leave their babies in the seats to get in and out of the home, in and through shopping, and even to sleep for the night.

So, what is the best seat? There is no right answer to that. The best seat is the seat that fits your child, your car, and that you'll use right every time.

For those concerned that their 2 year old will weigh too much to stay rear facing, here are some carseats with their upper weight limits. Also be sure to pay attention to a child's torso length.

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