Statistics from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration show that more children die from automobile accidents each year than from all childhood diseases combined. This is why all states passed laws requiring all children to ride in approved child passenger safety seats. Proper use of car safety seats can reduce traffic fatalities by 80 percent. Yet, 80 percent of parents do not properly use their child's car seat or install it correctly.
There are three types of car seats:
- Infant safety seats that are installed in a rear-facing position only and can be used from birth until a child weighs approximately 20 pounds and reaches 1 year of age.
- Convertible safety seats that can be used in both rear- and forward-facing positions.
- Booster safety seats that are used in a forward-facing position only.
We recommend parents purchase a car seat before the baby is born and check to make sure that the car seat will fit in the car. Parents also need to make sure that the seat belts will work with the seat. Remember to use a rear-facing infant safety seat until your child weighs more than 20 pounds and is 1 year old. Be sure to wear your seatbelt as well.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently made recommendations for children to continue to face backward in the car seat until 2 years of age. Until 2 years of age, a child's neck muscles are not well developed. In the case of an accident, a child under the age of 2 who is facing forward in a car seat could still be at risk for neck injury.