New Data Suggests Toddlers are Safest in Rear-Facing Car Seats through Age 2


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics released independent, yet concurring reports earlier this week advising parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until age two. Previously, these car seats were recommended through age one.

The change in recommendation was due to crash data indicating that one-year-olds are at five times greater risk of being injured in a car accident when they are in a front-facing car seat compared to a rear-facing car seat. Toddlers have relatively large heads compared to their necks. When riding in a front-facing car seat, this head/neck imbalance places them at a greater risk of jerking their head during an accident, leading to spinal cord injuries.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia estimate that over the last 15 years, approximately 1,000 children have suffered injuries in front-facing car seats that would have been avoided had a rear-facing seat been used.

It is important to check the recommended weight on your child’s car seat. If your child outgrows the weight limit on the car seat, you can purchase a heavier duty rear-facing car seat to be used until your child reaches age two.

Both the NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children switch to front-facing car seats at age two. When children outgrow these car seats, they should use booster seats until the seat belt fits them properly. This usually occurs when children reach a height of 4 feet 9 inches. Additionally, all children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat, according to NHTSA guidelines.

If you or your child has been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you with the filing of your claim.