Over time child-restraining devices have evolved to better protect our children. The most recent evolution is the new child seat guidelines released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These new guidelines are categorized by age rather than type of restraining device, which is consistent with the most recent scientific research. The new guidelines tell caregivers to keep children in each type of restraining device for as long as possible before moving on to the next type so long as the child falls with in the height and weight limits of that particular restraining device. This includes rear facing child seats. Rear facing child seats are particularly important for growing babies. This type of seat reduces stresses on the neck and spinal cord of the baby to help prevent injury especially in a car accident.
The NHTSA also noted that all child-restraining devices sold in the United States must meet federal standards and the problem is that parents are unsure about what child seat to get. So, if you are a parent struggling to decide how your child should be seated remember these tips:
- Select a seat based on your child’s age and size, and a seat that fits in your vehicle.
- Always follow specific manufacturer instructions, and read the car owner’s manual on how to install a car seat using a seat belt or LATCH system.
- For safety purposes keep your child in each type of car seat as long as you can.
- Keep your child in the backseat until at least the age of 12.