Rear-facing car seat until age 2? Why? Really?

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Some parents question the importance of keeping a child in a car seat rear-facing until age 2. Here are the reasons and some hints to make this more palatable for both you and your child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement reporting the increased safety with continuing to have children in a REAR-FACING car seat until at least the age of 2 or until reaching the highest weight and height allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat.

A study of motor vehicle accidents involving 870 children showed that rear-facing car seats provide more even support to the head, neck and torso with fewer significant, serious injuries than those facing forward.

Some parents are resistant. Here are some concerns I hear.
“My kid’s legs are cramped, if I’m in an accident won’t this cause a broken leg?” Toddlers naturally curl/bend their legs up and this does not seem uncomfortable for them. Studies show that lower extremity injuries are extremely uncommon in children in rear-facing car seats and more common when the child is forward-facing and legs swing and hit things.

“The car seat doesn’t fit well backwards in my car.” Local hospitals and occasionally car dealerships sponsor free car-seat safety checks and this fitting may help. The AAP and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also has resources/hints.

“My child screams while facing backwards.” If your child is not hurt, then your child may only need distractions: consider toys and books (and change them out as needed to keep interest).

Stay safe. Drive attentively. Give your child your attention at your destination.

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About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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