Story by: Maggie Roetker on August 31, 2018
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a new recommendation that young children need to face the rear of the car for as long as they’re under the seat’s weight limit. Some rear-facing seats can accommodate a child up to 40 pounds. Previous recommendations were based on age.
Why does it matter? It’s about prevention of head and neck injuries in the event of an accident.
“When a car is involved in a crash, the child’s head moves abruptly forward, placing increased forces on the neck,” said Sharon Rengers, R.N., Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness.
Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness is offering free car seat checks weekly around Louisville and in Shelbyville, Kentucky.
Make an appointment
“A rear-facing car seat is designed to distribute the forces of a crash, and support and cradle the entire head, neck and back of a child during a frontal crash. This reduces the chance of head and neck injuries.”
Many parents continue to place their children in forward-facing seats too early, citing ease and the fact that the child’s legs appear too long. To them, Rengers has a message:
“If a child suffers a head and neck injury, it can be a life-long injury — if not fatal. A little discomfort is a small price to pay to prevent that,” she said.
Parents also say they’re worried about leg injuries. Those are rare, and taller children can usually sit in a crossed leg position while rear-facing.
A child who is properly restrained in a properly installed car seat is five times more likely to survive a serious crash and have less serious injuries. Yet, mistakes continue to be made, putting children at risk.