To mark the one-year anniversary of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) updated car seat recommendations, the AAA released a survey which reveals that one third (35%) of parents have made changes to comply with the new guidelines. Outreach efforts have been successful, with over 90% of parents with children under the age of 13 reporting that they were aware of the revised recommendations.
The AAP advises parents to keep toddlers rear-facing until age two or until they outgrow the maximum height and weight limit for the seat. Studies show that children are five times less likely to be injured in a crash when they are properly restrained in a rear-facing car seat. They also recommend that children between eight and 12 remain in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall.
“It’s encouraging to find that many parents are aware of the recommendations and are taking these safety interventions seriously,” said Jill Ingrassia, managing director, AAA Government Relations and Traffic Safety Advocacy. “Parents are getting the message that moving a child to the next step prematurely is actually a downgrade in safety. Children should remain in their car or booster seat until they outgrow it.”
Out of those who have not made changes according to the new recommendations, an overwhelming majority felt that they were already meeting or exceeding the new guidelines. Other reasons cited by parents included that they were unwilling to return their child to a rear-facing position or a booster seat after they had already “graduated” to a forward-facing seat or a seat belt, that the rules were too strict or unnecessary, and that their children would be uncomfortable or unwilling to comply.
If you need help properly installing a car seat, you can consult a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician through local AAA offices, visit seatcheck.org, or call 866-SEATCHECK (866-732-8243).
Have you made the change to a rear-facing car seat or a booster seat? Why or why not?