Welcome to CarseatBlog.com! You’re here so you’ve obviously heard about the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding carseats and boosters. Perhaps you saw something on the news today or read a comment on facebook. You might be a little (or a lot) confused right now and are looking for some accurate info and helpful advice. We’re here to help! Consider us your tour guides in the confusing but wonderful world of Child Passenger Safety.
These are the new recommendations from the AAP:
- Keep kids rear-facing until at least their 2nd Birthday (keeping them rear-facing beyond age 2 is fine also if they haven’t maxed out their convertible carseat in the rear-facing position by either weight or height).
- Once the child has maxed out the convertible seat in the rear-facing position - turn them forward-facing but keep them in the 5-point harness until they reach the maximum weight or height limits for that particular seat.
- Don’t rush to “graduate” kids into booster seats before it’s necessary but do use a booster seat once the child has legitimately outgrown the harnessed carseat. Every seat has different weight or height limits so make sure you understand what those limits are for your seat(s). Some child safety seats are “combination seats” which can be used initially with the 5-point harness and then the harness is removed after it’s outgrown and the seat is used as a booster using the vehicle’s adult seatbelt system (lap/shoulder belt).
- Keep kids in a booster seat until they reach at least 4′ 9″ tall (57″) and the vehicle’s lap/shoulder seatbelt fits them properly. See our blog on The 5-Step Test to help you determine if your older child can ride safely in your vehicle using just the seatbelt.
- Keep kids out of the front seat until they are TEENAGERS (and yes, we realize that most 9-11 year olds think they’re teenagers and may act accordingly but they are not actually teenagers and they need to sit in the back seat). Truthfully, many of these tweens still need to use a booster in order for the seatbelt to fit them properly. I know what many parents may say about this but I’ve been through this with my oldest child who is now almost 14 and please trust me when I say, “they’ll live”. And if you’re unlucky enough to crash with them in the vehicle – they’ll live without potentially devastating internal injuries caused by an adult seatbelt that didn’t fit them properly or wasn’t worn properly.
To Worry or Not to Worry?
When it comes to carseats there are lots of things you do need to worry about like making sure the carseat is properly installed and that the harness straps are snug and positioned correctly. But here’s a brief list of things that you DON’T need to worry about when it comes to rear-facing toddler and older kids: