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The Major Car Seat Mistake You Are Probably Making

The Short of It

Do you want to increase your child's chances of not getting injured in a car accident by 532 percent? Just keep him in a rear-facing car seat until the age of 2. Sounds simple enough, but a new study says an alarming number of parents aren't doing this.

The Lowdown

A study published in the journal "Academic Pediatrics" found that 75 percent of parents transition their child to a forward-facing seat too early.

According to the updated guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children should sit in rear-facing seats until the age of 2 or until they exceed the height and weight limits of their rear-facing seats. Until 2011, the recommendation was 1 year of age.

But parents have not changed their car seat customs enough since the updated guidelines came out.

Parents with children between the ages of 1 and 4 were polled in 2011 for the "Academic Pediatrics" study. Thirty-three percent switched their kid from a rear-facing to a forward-facing seat before or at the 12-month mark. In 2013, the number was 24 percent.

Meanwhile, only 16 percent of parents polled in 2011 turned their children on or after their second birthdays. In 2013, the number was 23 percent.

The Upshot

Clearly, more parents are making the switch to the new guidelines, but the number who aren't is scary. It seems no matter your reason for turning your child early—because you think he's ready for a big kid seat or because he doesn't like being rear-facing—it just doesn't seem as important when you consider his safety.

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