Cars are a major part of modern life. Unfortunately, that means everyone is at risk of a car accident and the serious injuries that sometimes follow. Young children are especially vulnerable as their bodies are still developing. Every day, four children under age 14 die in car crashes in the United States.
As any parent knows, there are many regulations and recommendations about which type of car seat is best for your child. Advancements in technology and new data make those recommendations subject to change. A recent report was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In it, the AAP recommends that parents disregard previous age requirements for rear-facing child seats. Instead, the organization suggests using rear-facing seats until your child reaches the maximum height or weight for that given seat.
The rationale for the change
Compiling research with data from car crashes and related injuries, AAP points to the fact that children in rear-facing seats suffer fewer crash injuries. A rear-facing seat provides extra support to the head, neck and spine. Babies and toddlers are disproportionately heavier in these areas than adults, leading to more head and spine injuries.
Additionally, the hard shell of these seats is designed to absorb the most impact in a collision, further protecting children. Forward-facing seats rely on harnesses, seat belts and restraints. The new AAP recommendation is essentially that parents and guardians consider height and weight rather than a child’s age when deciding which safety seat to use.
It is challenging for parents to keep up with the latest expert advice. But your children’s safety is critical, especially for everyday occurrences like riding in a car.
Protection before the crash, but what happens after?
Car seats may not be able to completely prevent injuries in an accident, but they can help protect against serious injuries. Using the right car seat for your child’s size – and using it correctly – can play a crucial role in the outcome of an accident.
If your child suffers injuries from a car accident, it could affect many aspects of their life. It’s worth consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand your rights and options to help them – and you – move forward.