Life Sciences Discovery Fund: AAP Updates Recommendations On Baby Car Seats

American Academy of Pediatrics

Life Sciences Discovery Fund found out that the American Academy of Pediatrics or AAP has changed its recommendations on how parents should keep their baby safe during the ride. The AAP reviews and updates their statement policies regularly to ensure your babies are given maximum protection.

A child's life is always put at risk whenever he is riding in a vehicle. According to statistics, the main cause of death among children aged four years and above are vehicular crashes. This latest evidence, which has been accumulated for over a decade, prompted the AAP to update their technical report and policy statement, called Child Passenger Safety. All information is available on this source.

The revised policy has minimal changes, but it makes a massive impact on the safety of your baby during the drive. The most significant change here is removing the specific age of two years old as the criteria when your baby can switch from a rear-facing infant car seat to a forward-facing safety seat.

Why Did The AAP Recommendations Changed?

baby in safety car seat

From 2002, the previous policy advises that babies and toddlers are safest when rear-facing until they reach the car seat restrictions. However, it also mentioned that the minimum is 12 months age and 20 lbs weight. For this reason, a lot of parents switched to forward-facing seats as soon as their child turns 1 year old.

The previous recommendation of keeping your baby rear-facing until the age of two was somewhat based on a study which found out that kids between the age of one and two who are in a rear-face position are less likely to incur fatal injuries in a car crash. The research data was backed up by the crash simulation data, biometric research, and experience in Europe where kids use rear-facing seats longer.

However, the original study was questioned in 2017, and the Inquiry Prevention publications retracted it. The data was then re-analyzed and showed that rear-face seats seemed to provide further safety and protection to children below 2 years old compared to front-facing ones. Furthermore, the number of injuries were very low for it to have statistical weight.

When the recommendation of kids should be in a rear-face position until 2 was published, it created a lot of discussions. However, it did prove to be advantageous. Following 2011, car seat companies started to produce innovative products wherein kids can rear-face until they reach the 40 lbs or more limitation of the seats. This also led to several states pass laws which require prolong rear-facing. Due to the evolution and innovation in science, the AAP made some updates on its recommendations.

Best Practice Guidelines For Families

Guidelines For Families
  • All babies and toddlers should be in a rear-face position for as long as possible or until they have reached the utmost height and weight restrictions supported by the car safety seat. The majority of convertible car seats allows your child to use it for 24 months and more.
  • Once your child is ready to face forward, he should ride in a forward-facing safety seat with a harness for as long as he can on until he reached the height and weight restrictions of the car seat.
  • Once your child has reached all the limitations of the seats, you can transform him into a belt-positioning booster safety seat up until the time he is old enough to fit your own vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt properly. Most often, this is when he reaches 4 ft and 9 in tall or between the ages of 8 to 12.
  • When your child is either old or large enough to use your vehicle's own seat belt, ensuring that they are always using the lap and shoulder belt for maximum safety and protection.
  • For optimal protection of children below 13 years of age, they should be restrained at the vehicle's back seat.

The technical support accompanying it provides a summary of the evidence which supports the recommendations as well as for the other issues related to safety which includes the following:

  • Proper installation and usage of child restraints.
  • Airbag exposure of children.
  • A child's safety when he is left inside or around a vehicle.
  • Traveling in any type of pickup trucks.
  • Traveling on all kinds of commercial airplanes.
  • Laws on child restraints.

There's also a list of car safety support for families and professionals in the health care industry included in the technical support.

Final Words

Vehicular accidents are still the preeminent cause of death for children. It is vital to let your child use a car safety seat, no matter how short or long your trips are. The risk of fatal injuries or getting killed is lowered by as much as 70% when your little one is using the right seat for his age, height, and weight. Life Sciences Discovery Fund hopes that by providing you with all of this information, we will be able to help you protect your children better and prevent any tragedies.