I just read a study this morning from the University of Michigan that shows that too many of us aren't aware, or aren't interested, in the new car seat recommendations: Too many kids graduate early to inappropriate car seats.
“We found that few children remain rear-facing after age 1, fewer than 2% use a booster seat after age 7, many over age six sit in the front seat” --Michelle L. Macy, MD, MS study source
Car crashes are the number one killer of kids between the ages of one to 13, so let's pay attention, OK?
Rear-facing Until Two--OR LONGER
Your kids should be rear-facing until they are 2, yes, even if their legs are bunched up. It's their necks that are the issue: a broken leg is about a million times better than a broken neck. The new infant seats are rated up to 35 pounds. Your kids isn't smarter or growing-up when you make the transition to front-facing, they get less safe. Keep them rear-facing as long as possible.
Booster Until 8 or Even Older
Older kids should be in booster seats until they are at least 8-years-old and are 57 inches tall. Why? Because the belt isn't positioned on their hips properly otherwise and they can suffer terrible internal injuries in a crash.
No Front Seat Until 12
Your front passenger seat is the best seat in the house, and the worst for a little kid. I know it's a treat to sit up front, you loved it, I loved it, but the truth is that it's just not safe. I've even had to have words with my husband for allowing our 8-year-old to sit up front. I'd rather be the meanest mom in the world than have them suffer serious injuries, or even death, through a preventable crash.
And you know what? I get it, I do. I had three kids in my sedan in car seats and it was a stinking pain in the neck (sometimes literally.) It takes longer to get everywhere, you're always having to help someone in and out, and sometimes it would be a lot easier to ditch a car seat. But using the right car seat at the right time really does prevent injuries and even death. Let's wise up and keep our kids safe.
You can learn more about the right car seat for your child at SaferCar.gov.
Other posts you might enjoy: