Every milestone in a child’s life is exciting – first smile, first steps, first word, first day of school. Even car seat milestones seem exciting – however they should be looked upon with caution and careful consideration. Every step in the car seat progression is actually a step down in your child’s protection.
The AAP recently announced five best practices, supported by The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton, to slow the transition from one child restraint type to the next. Here are the best practice recommendations:
- All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat (CSS) until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their CSS.
- All children 2 years or older, or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their CSS, should use a forward-facing CSS with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their CSS.
- All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their CSS should use a belt-positioning-booster until the vehicle lap-and-shoulder seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
- When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap-and-shoulder seat belts for optimal protection.
- All children younger than 13 years of age should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
“By following these recommendations, parents will be optimizing the life of their car seats and keeping children as safe as possible,” says Jessica Saunders, injury prevention coordinator at Dayton Children’s.
Ohio’s car seat law states that children under 4 years old and 40 pounds must ride in a car seat and children younger than 8 and under 4’9” tall must ride in a booster seats. The law does not specify whether or not the child should be rear or forward facing.
For more information regarding car seat use and to see a list of upcoming car seat checks visit www.childrensdayton.org.
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