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New Car Seat Guidelines

Hopefully, many people saw the recent news that the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their car seat recommendations.

Although these guidelines do change often and can be hard to keep up with, the new guidelines simplify things (a bit).

1. For children in a car seat (rear or facing) - just keep doing what you're doing until your child outgrows your seat.

2. For children in a booster seat, they can stop using a booster when their height is about 4'9"

3. Children should stay in the back seat until they are 13 years old.

That's it. No more talk of ages or weights. Simply keep your child as they are until they outgrow their current seat (by weight or height - all seats have a sticker on the side with their weight or height limits). When a child outgrows their rear-facing infant carrier-seat, they should switch to a convertible rear-facing seat and stay there until they outgrow it.

Once they outgrow the rear-facing weight or height limit of your convertible seat, turn them forward and keep them there until they outgrow the seat's forward-facing limits. Then it's on to a booster.

Use the booster until they are about 4'9". At this height, most children can sit safely without a booster in most cars. In your car, your child may be safe when they're a bit shorter, or may need to wait until they're above 4'9". The shoulder strap shoulds sit squarely on their shoulder, not on their neck, their face, or elsewhere. Again, this may depend on the car. Your child may be safe in your car, but not their grandparent's car.

Most seats have higher weight or height limits than they used to. The goal of the guidelines is to slow down children's progression from rear-facing to forward-facing to booster. In an ideal world, we'd all sit rear-facing in a 5-point harness, but it's hard to drive that way. The safest approach is to delay each transition until they outgrow their seat's limits.

Finally, some of you may know that current NJ car seat laws are different. That is nearly always the case. Experts update the guidelines when new evidence comes to light. The law gets updated only when some legislator bothers to look into it. The current NJ law went into effect in 2015. Prior to that, the last car seat law passed in 1984. Don't wait for the law to change. the safest approach is to follow the new guidelines

Posted: 9/13/2018 3:20:00 AM by Paul Matz | with 0 comments


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