(LOS ANGELES, Sept. 20, 2010) -- AAA now advises parents of infants and young toddlers to secure their children in rear-facing child safety seats for as long as possible, maxing out the upper weight or height limits of the car seat.
Researchers indicate that toddlers are 75 percent less likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash when they ride in a rear-facing car seat up to their second birthday. National Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 19-25 and AAA has updated its safety recommendations as part of its Seated, Safe and Secure initiative.
“AAA’s safety advice to parents is rooted in available scientific evidence, and the latest research clearly shows that children should ride rear-facing as long as possible,” said Washington D.C.-based AAA Vice President of Public Affairs Kathleen Marvaso. “We have a critical opportunity to save young lives by empowering parents to follow these new guidelines.”
AAA recommends the following child passenger safety best practices:
- Always read the car seat manufacturer’s instructions and vehicle owner’s manual.
- Keep children rear-facing as long as possible – into their second year of life until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their rear-facing convertible seat. This will usually be around 30-35 pounds.
- Once children outgrow the upper weight or height limit of their rear-facing convertible seats, they can ride in a forward-facing child safety seat.
- Children should use a forward-facing child safety seat until they reach the maximum weight (usually 40-65 lbs.) or height for the harness.
- Children should ride in a booster seat until age 8 or older unless they are 4’9” tall.
- Move children to adult lap/shoulder belts when they are at least 4' 9" tall (which usually happens between ages 8 and 12) and vehicle safety belts fit properly.
- For all children under age 13, the back seat is the safest place.
With three out of four child safety seats not properly installed, consulting an expert can be critical to ensure that children are secured in the safest manner possible. Experts are available to help parents with their car seat installation by visiting your local AAA club, www.seatcheck.org or calling 866-SEATCHECK (866-732-8243). For more additional information on AAA’s child passenger safety resources for parents and caregivers, visit AAA.com/SafeSeats4Kids.