September is baby safety month!
Did you know that there have been recent changes to the child car seat safety guidelines? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that riding as a passenger in a car is a leading cause of death for children under four years of age. The AAP has recently reassessed and released new guidelines for car seats.
Originally, it was advised that children should face backwards in the car seat until the second birthday. Now, based on new data, the AAP advises that children should ride facing backward until they can no longer fit in the car seat in that position. While the child’s body is secured into the car seat, the head is not, and is vulnerable to injury. When a child rides facing forward, crash forces can cause the child’s head to fall forward, possibly causing head and spinal injuries.
When a child rides backward, the head and neck, the most vulnerable parts of the body in small children, are supported and protected by the hard shell of the seat. This allows for the seat to absorb the impact created by a crash, and to prevent head and spinal injuries.
Make sure that when you are installing your child’s car seat, to read the instructions carefully, and to also consult your car’s manual. The car may have some lower anchors built into the car seats that can be used to attach a baby seat. If you find that you have trouble with the seat installation, don’t hesitate to contact your local fire and police departments for help. Most, if not all, officers and firefighters have training to install the baby seats, and many departments offer baby seat installation as a service to the community.