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The science behind car seat policies for small children

Did you know that there is scientific evidence to support the most recent child car seat recommendations? Many believe these policies are simple guidelines with no basis in fact, but this belief is far from the truth. Child safety professionals and organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) perform research and stringent testing to arrive at these recommendations.

In 2011, the AAP updated its car seat policy with new recommendations. Previously, the policy recommended that children under 20 pounds or 12 months ride in rear-facing car seats. The updated policy now recommends that children remain in rear-facing car seats until the age of two or until the child’s height and weight exceed the car seat’s specifications.

As far as the science behind the policy, a doctor with the AAP explains that rear-facing car seats support a small child’s spine, neck and head during a car accident. The seat does this by distributing the force generated by a collision over the child’s entire body instead of directing the force at one or more specific region. The policy is also supported by evidence from a 2007 study showing that small children in a collision are “75 percent less likely” to suffer severe injuries or death in a rear-facing seat.

Since car accidents remain a top cause of death for children in Illinois and other states, it makes sense to comply with these policies and with seat manufacturer guidelines. You may already know that you can seek a legal remedy for accident injuries or death caused by negligence. However, doing everything you can to reduce the chance of injury if a crash does occur is your child’s first line of protection.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, “AAP Updates Recommendation on Car Seats,” accessed April 12, 2018