American Academy of Pediatrics Sets New 2018 Guidelines on Car Seat Safety.


The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines on car seat safety (CSS) for 2018, with some significant changes in prior recommendations. Probably the most significant, was the following change in how long they recommend a infant or toddler remain rear facing in a car.

All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat (CSS) as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their CSS’s manufacturer. Most convertible seats have limits that will permit children to ride rear-facing for 2 years or more.
— The American Academy of Pediatrics

The recommendation used to be that children remain rear facing for minimum of two years. This recommendation led many to believe that a child over two years of age did not benefit from or should not be rear facing. The new guidelines say to keep children rear facing as long as they are within the height and weight restrictions of their car safety seat. There are currently 11 states that mandate rear facing until the age of two, but Kentucky is not one of those states.

Of note, the recommendation that all children be restrained in a rear-facing-only or convertible CSS used rear facing as long as possible represents a significant change from previous AAP policy and is based on data from the United States as well as extensive experience in Sweden. It is important to note that nearly all currently available CSS’s have weight limits for rear-facing use that can accommodate children 35 to 40lbs.
— The American Academy of Pediatrics

The other guideline changes are:

  • All children who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their CSS should use a forward-facing CSS with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their CSS’s manufacturer.

  • All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their CSS should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 ft 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

  • When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection.

  • All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.