March 21, 2011 2:44 PM
By Nina Sen for ThirdAge.com
Children should stay in rear-facing car seats longer according to new recommendations in car seat guidelines.
In a report out Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping toddlers in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight allowed for their car seat. That's 1 year longer than previous guidelines.
Dr. Dennis Durbin of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia wrote in the new policy "all infants and toddlers should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years of age or until they outgrow the weight and height limits of their car seat."
Durbin says keeping young children in the rear-facing position for as long as possible will help protect their head and neck in the event of an accident.
“We've seen many cases where children suffer serious injuries to their neck or their head when they've been turned forward facing and those injuries probably could have been prevented had that child been in a rear-facing direction,” he wrote.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also issued a similar recommendation Monday.
According to a 2007 analysis of five years of U.S. crash data, one-year-olds are five times less likely to be injured in a crash if they are in a rear-facing car seat than a forward-facing seat.
State child safety seat laws will not automatically reflect the recommended change.