New recommendations keep children in car seats a lot longer - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New recommendations keep children in car seats a lot longer

Experts are issuing new advice to parents of young children about when they should turn a baby's car seat around to face the front. Experts are issuing new advice to parents of young children about when they should turn a baby's car seat around to face the front.

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (NBC/WMC-TV) - Experts are issuing new advice to parents of young children about when they should turn a baby's car seat around to face the front.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a recent study found children under age two are 75 percent less likely to die or get seriously hurt in a crash if they are riding rear-facing.

"All infants and toddlers should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they are two years of age, or until they outgrow the weight and height limits of their car seat," said Dr. Dennis Durbin of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Durbin is the lead author of a new American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement.  He says keeping young children in the rear-facing position for as long as possible will help protect their head and neck in the event of an accident.

"We've seen many cases where children suffer serious injuries to their neck or their head when they've been turned forward facing, and those injuries probably could have been prevented had that child been in a rear-facing direction," he said.

And even though they're older - and bigger - kids up until age two should be able to fit in most car seats.

"The childhood obesity epidemic has already spurred car seat manufacturers to make design changes to their seats to accommodate heavier children," Durbin said.

State child safety seat laws will not automatically reflect the recommended change, but the hope is that parents will take it upon themselves to create new rules for their own families.

The new recommendations say older children should be in a booster seat until they're 4-feet, 9-inches tall and are between the ages of 8 and 12 years old.

Children should remain in the back seat until age 13.

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