New car seat regulations: good for safety or inconvenient?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released its new car seat guidelines for children. A “Today Moms” article summed up the changes:
• Children should ride rear-facing to age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. (The old policy from 2002 cited age 12 months and 20 pounds as a minimum for when to turn a seat around.)
• Children should use a booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years old.
• Children should ride in the rear of a vehicle until they are 13 years old.
I remember how happy I was the day I got to turn my 1-year-old son’s car seat around. I have a two-door car, which I have no plans of getting rid of because it’s paid off, and the bigger he got, the harder it was to lift him into a rear-facing seat. He is tall for his age, too, and I can’t imagine he would have been able to remain rear-facing until he turned 2. He’s just too tall, and his legs would have been crunched.
Some moms are having trouble accepting the guidelines. The “Today Moms” article quotes a mom of three who isn’t planning on following the new rules:
Carolyn Murray of West Milford, New Jersey, has already transitioned two of her three kids out of car seats. While Murray's 6-year-old son James still uses a booster, daughters, Samantha, 9, and Emily, 11, haven't had one for years.
Murray isn't planning on following the guidelines, saying that most of her driving is in town and not on highways, and she doesn't want the hassle of needing extra car seats when she drives her kids' friends.
Plus, she says she could never get her 11-year-old to comply: “She would fight it.”
"I agree it's probably safer with short children, since seatbelts can cut into their neck. But there's no way she is going to sit in a booster seat. It's an image thing."
Emily says sitting in a booster seat simply isn't cool. “My friends would laugh.”
Even though the guidelines seem inconvenient, I think it’s probably still better to follow them. I would never forgive myself I was in an accident, and my kids were injured because of my refusal to conform to rules that were created solely for their safety.
For more details about the guidelines, visit http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/carseat2011.htm.