Car seat safety is a very important topic, and one that the majority of parents pay close attention to. We've come a really long way since the days of our childhoods, when car seats were sort of an afterthought, or worse, so poorly designed that they made riding in a car MORE dangerous. Today's car seats are engineering marvels, with so many layers that are all designed to come together to keep our children as safe as possible in the event of a car accident.
But, it's also important to remember that no matter how fancy or advanced your car seat is, it is rendered almost useless when not used properly. Improper car seat installation and usage can mean the difference between life and death, so it's vital that parents follow all instructions and recommendations. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently updated their official stance on car seat safety, bringing it more in line with what parents have already been doing.
The old AAP guidelines recommended that children stay rear-facing until at least two years of age. Rear-facing is the safest possible position for a child to ride in, and offers the most protection in the event of a car accident. Many parents already followed the minimum age guideline, but when the AAP made it their official stance a few years ago, it became the norm.
But now, the AAP is updating their guidelines once again. Instead of using a specific minimum age for transitioning out of a rear-facing car seat, they've changed the language. The new guidelines recommend that children remain rear-facing until they outgrow the height and weight requirements for their specific car seat. There are plenty of car seats on the market now that a child can safely and comfortably sit rear-facing in until they reach 40 pounds or more. So until they outgrow their seat, keep them rear-facing!
According to the AAP, every car seat transition reduces the amount of protection a child has if they were involved in a car accident. So to keep our kiddos as safe as possible for as long as possible, keep those seats turned around.