Car seats have gone through many changes over time, beginning many decades ago as drawstring sacks and progressing to today's heavily padded and harnessed seats.
Laws and recommendations for car seat use also have changed. In Minnesota, the law states that a child restraint must be used until the child is 7 years old or 57 inches tall, and then it's OK to put the child in an adult seat belt; the fine for violating the law is $50.
But the most recent changes in recommendations (not laws) for using car seats came a week ago from the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a report in the Pediatrics medical journal.
This article from the Pioneer Press provides more details on the changes and why experts back them, including statistics from various child-safety studies. In sum:
- Children should remain in rear-facing car seats until at least age 2, reversing the recommendation that they could be turned face-forward after a child turned 1.
- Children should sit in a five-point harness seat for as long as possible, then move to a booster seat when they've outgrown the height and weight limits for the harness seat.
- Children should then sit in a booster seat until they exceed 4 feet 9 inches in height, which they usually reach between ages 8 and 12.
- Children should sit in the back seat of a car until age 13.
After reading the recommendations, how do you feel about them? Do you already follow them, or will you alter your habits to follow them? What factors do you weigh when determining what type of seat to put your child in, which direction it faces and when you child should move to a booster or adult seat belt?
Our six-member Moms Council—including, , , and —is ready to weigh in on the discussion this week and encourage you to share your thoughts as well.
Post your thoughts, advice or questions in the comments section below. Also, if you're interested in joining our Moms Council, e-mail Editor David Henke at firstname.lastname@example.org.