The American Academy of Pediatrics is changing their guidelines on how long children should stay in backwards-facing car seats.
Now, it’s no longer about the age of the child, but more about the child’s size, according to the new guidelines.
The association says children should remain rear-facing until they reach the maximum weight and height according to the car seat manufacturer. So, parent should check the car seat’s manual. It will state, for example, that you should keep your child rear-facing until the child weighs more than 45 or 50 pounds.
That should be followed, because it's proven in crash tests that they fair better facing the back seat, even if the child has longer legs.
A spokesperson for Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profit organization that conducts research to prevent childhood injury, says most car seats today are designed to accommodate larger kids for a longer amount of time. And the sooner you flip them around, you lose a little more safety.
The two most important things to remember: make sure no matter the child’s size, make sure they can’t wiggle out of their seatbelt; don’t try and parent while driving.
“When you're driving, your eyes need to be looking front and center,” says Lorrie Walker, with Safe Kids Worldwide. “You shouldn't be doing child care and worrying about what the baby is doing in the backseat.”
Taking your eyes off the road is more dangerous than having a child that's not perfectly strapped in.
For installation, and other simple tests you can do to make sure a child is strapped in right, check out SafeKids.org. https://www.safekids.org/