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Updated Car Seat Safety Recommendations

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Parents of young children know how important it is to use a safe, approved car seat. Car seats play a big role in decreasing the risk of serious injury and death in the event of a car crash.

But choosing the right car seat can be an overwhelming task. One of the complexities in choosing a car seat is ensuring that the car seat meets current safety guidelines. But these guidelines change from time to time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published updated recommendations for car seat safety.

What changed?

- In the past, the AAP recommended that a rear-facing car seat should be used until the child reaches 2 years of age.

- The new guidelines state that a rear-facing car seat should be used as long as possible - until the child reaches the maximum height and weight recommended for that specific car seat.

Research has found that there is a lower risk of injury in children who remained in rear-facing car seats.

In the event of an accident, rear-facing car seats absorb most of the energy from a crash. The child's head, spinal cord, and neck are supported by the seat. In front-facing car seats, the head can be thrust forward, potentially causing grave injuries.

The current AAP recommendations include:

- Rear-facing car seats: Keeping children in rear-facing car seats until they reach the maximum height and weight for the car seat.

- Front-facing car seats: Once the child reaches the height/weight requirements and moves to a forward-facing seat, the child should continue to use a car seat with a harness for as long as possible - many car seats can be used until the child reaches 65 pounds.

- Booster seats: When the child reaches the maximum height/weight for the car seat, a booster seat should be used until the child can use a seat belt - this is typically when the child reaches 4 feet 9 inches in height, and is between 8 and 12 years old.

- Post-booster seat: When a child is old/tall enough to use a seat belt without a booster seat, combination lap/shoulder seat belts should be used.

Additionally, the AAP recommends that all children under the age of 13 be seated in the back of the car.

Car seats cannot prevent every injury or death. Individuals who have been injured in a car accident may be eligible for significant compensation. Schedule a free consultation with an attorney from Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz by calling 713-587-9668.

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