2 Your Health:New guidelines for car safety seats

2 Your Health
For years, parents have learned that keeping a child rear-facing in a car seat until age two is the best practice.Now, the American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated their recommendation to advise parents to keep children in rear-facing seats beyond age two  and as long as possible.

According to Purva Grover, M.D., a pediatric emergency physician at Cleveland Clinic Childrens, a child in a rear-facing seat faces less risk for serious or fatal injury if involved in a crash.Because of the way their head and neck is positioned, when there is a big car crash involving a massive force  if they were to be front-facing, the positioning of the head and neck would give them bad whiplash and with small children, it could actually cause much more damage, she said. The AAP says riding in a car is the most dangerous thing that children do as part of their daily routine.

Research shows that car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages four and older.Experts say that using the correct safety or booster seat can help decrease the risk of serious injury or death by more than 70 percent.The updated recommendations also indicate that once children's seats have been turned around, they should remain in a forward-facing car seat up until the time they've reached the seats weight and length limits.Once children have reached those limits, they should be transitioned to a booster seat.

Children exceeding booster seat limits should use both a lap and shoulder seat belt, in the back seat of the car, until they have reached the age of 13.Dr. Grover agrees with the new recommendations, and said when it comes to minimizing injury risk, safety should always come before convenience.

It's not the most comfortable thing for the child, but, I always say, safety is the most important thing so I think this new recommendation is finally due, she said. Dr. Grover said its important for pediatricians to talk to parents about the guidelines and explain why they are in place.The complete recommendation is available via The American Academy of Pediatrics

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