Most parents move their infants into front-facing car seats shortly after their first birthday. The AAA, however, is advising parents to hold off a little longer before making the change.
National Child Passenger Safety Week is September 19-25, and to celebrate the AAA is urging parents to let their toddlers sit in rear-facing car seats longer than the average. Most rear-facing seats are built to hold toddlers much larger than the average one-year-old. Parents should continue using the rear facings seats until their toddlers have reached the maximum size.
Researchers found that toddlers are 75 percent less likely to become severely injured or die during a car accident when they are still in rear-facing seats. Up until their second birthday, toddlers should continue to ride facing back.
“The latest research clearly shows children are safer when riding in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible,” said Leticia Messam, AAA Traffic Safety Manager. “AAA views this as an opportunity to empower parents to help them best protect their most prized possession—their children.”
To keep your toddlers safe when riding in the car, the AAA offers these safety tips for parents.
- Make sure the car seat is properly installed and adjusted to fit your toddler.
- Keep a toddler in a rear-facing seat until at least two years old or 30-35 pounds.
- Older toddlers should use front-facing car seats until they have reached the maximum height and weight for the seat, regardless of age.
- For all children, the back seat is the safest place to sit.
The AAA also warns that 3 out of 4 car seats are not properly installed. Parents should make sure to read all of the enclosed materials that come with their car seat, and if necessary have an expert help install the seat in their car. A properly installed, rear-facing car seat can be the difference between life and death for your toddler during an accident. – Summer, staff writer
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