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AAP Issues New Guidelines on Child Car Seats

Young mom securing child rear-facing car seat

As a parent, you do all you can to keep your kids safe while at home or on the road. While it may seem as though official opinions on how to make your kids safest while they ride in the car are always changing, it’s important to follow the latest recommendations so that your kids have the best chance of surviving an accident unharmed. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently updated its official recommendations on how young children should ride in the car. Read on to learn about the new car seat guidelines, and contact a knowledgeable Illinois personal injury lawyer if your child has suffered injuries in a Chicago auto accident.

Recommended ages for rear-facing seat use extended

Prior to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) recently-issued report, the medical group’s official stance was that small children should ride in rear-facing car seats at least until they reached the age of two. Now, according to the lead author of the AAP’s policy statement, Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, the organization believes that the latest research in the field warrants a different recommendation.

Dr. Hoffman writes that the AAP now believes that children should travel in rear-facing seats until they reach the height or weight limit for the seat. Depending on the seat and the child, this could mean that the child will be in a rear-facing seat up until the age of four. “It’s best to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible,” Hoffman writes. “This is still the safest way for children to ride.” Once children reach the height and weight limits for a rear facing seat, they should use a front-facing seat with a harness until they outgrow that, which may not be until the child weighs 65 pounds. At that point, they should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the regular lap and shoulder belt fit the child properly.

New research shows life-saving potential of rear-facing seats in Chicago automobile accidents and nationwide

According to the policy statement authored by Dr. Hoffman, a Texas case was particularly influential in causing the AAP to reconsider its recommendations to parents regarding car seats. The case resulted in financial liability for a car seat manufacturer that failed to warn its customers of the risk of harm caused by switching a child from a rear- to front-facing seat after a 20-month-old child suffered severe injuries when riding in a front-facing seat during a crash. Studies show that proper car seat use can lower a child’s risk of severe or fatal injury in a crash by over 70%.

For help in seeking damages after you or your child is injured in an Illinois crash, contact the dedicated, knowledgeable, and trial-ready Chicago personal injury lawyers at Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker and Newitt for a consultation, at 630-665-9600.

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