Car Safety for Kids Ages 2 and Under

New car seat safety guidelines were released in March 2011 from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. One of the most notable changes affects children under age 2.

Based upon extensive crash test studies, the AAP now recommends that children be kept in rear-facing car seats until at least age two. This recommendation is based on findings that children who ride in this position longer are more likely to survive a crash.   One reason is that a baby/toddler’s head is disproportionately large for its body size, and the muscular and skeletal systems in the neck which support it are underdeveloped.  A 2007 study cited in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or suffer serious injury in crashes where they are riding in a rear-facing seat.

It should also be noted that the age two is merely a guideline, and that a child’s physical size should also be taken into consideration. Smaller children will benefit from staying in a rear-facing seat longer. Additionally, you should make sure that your child’s car seat is designed to accommodate his or her weight in a rear position. Experts anticipate that manufacturers will respond to the new recommendations by offering more rear-facing seats with higher weight limits.

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