Children Should Stay in Rear Facing Seats Longer: Child Safety Experts
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children age 4 and up. Child car seats have been shown to lower the chances of death in a car accident by 28 per cent compared with seatbelts. They have also been found to reduce the severity of car crash injuries.
Most child car seat manufactures recommend that children stay in rear facing seats until they are 1 year old or 9 kilos as a guideline, before being placed in forward facing seats.
Rear Facing Seats Safer
But after reviewing data from injuries due to car crashes over several years that shows that children in rear-facing car seats are more likely to surivive, the American Academy of Pediatrics and U.S. traffic safety officials have teamed up to release new guidelines that recommend toddlers should sit in rear-facing car seats until age two. If a child under the age of two outgrows the weight limits for their infant car seat, they should be moved to a rear-facing convertible car seat and kept in that position until age two.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued similar recommendations.
Canadian Guidelines Not Clear
In Canada the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Injury Prevention Committee Guidelines recommend that parents should only move their children into the next phase of car seat when a car seat’s weight or height limits have been exceeded.
“Parents should be encouraged to continue to use a rear-facing seat as long as the height and weight limitations allow…”
Unfortunately this “encouragement” doesn’t really provide parents with clear directions as to the safest choice for their child’s safety.
Dr. Claude Cyr a member of the CPS committee told CTV News that the re-wording of the AAP guidelines could compel a review of the Canadian guidelines to see if they could be made clearer.