Use Rear Facing Car Seats for your Very Young Children
Most states require that children be in rear facing car seats until they are at least one. However, many experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that babies be kept in rear facing car seats until they are at least two. The reason the AAP recommends rear facing seats is that, “A rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body…”
If you are in a car accident, and your child is in the car, there is a 75% decreased risk of serious or even deadly injuries if you use a rear facing car seat for children under two. According to the experts, it is best to leave the child in a rear facing seat until he or she is at the maximum weight and height for the seat. There are seats available for all types of cars.
The AAP states, “for larger children, a forward-facing seat with a harness is safer than a booster, and a belt-positioning booster seat provides better protection than a seat belt alone until the seat belt fits correctly.” In addition, children should not sit in the front seat until they are 13 years old. Also watch that your child is big enough to handle the airbag safely, should it deploy.
Need Help Finding a Seat?
If you need assistance finding a car seat for your children, check out HealthyChildren.org. There you will find everything from advice about the right car seat to how to properly dress your child before you put her in the seat. Consumer Reports also has an excellent article on Top Car Seats.
Pennsylvania Car Seat Laws
The law in Pennsylvania is as follows:
- Children under 4 must be in an appropriate car seat
- Children 4-8 must be in an appropriate booster seat until the child reaches the maximum height and weight for the booster.
Please don’t go by the minimums though. Follow the experts’ recommendations about keeping your child safe in the car. Use a rear facing car seat until your child is two, or outgrows his seat. Then use a front facing seat until the child is large enough to sit in a booster seat. Only move to a regular seat belt for a child who is large and tall enough for one. A brochure with more information is available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Was Your Child Hurt in a Car Accident?
Car accidents are frightening. A car accident with your child in the car is terrifying. If you were in an auto accident and you or your child were injured, please contact the Pennsylvania car accident lawyers of Lowenthal & Abrams. We help both adults and children who are victims of the negligence of other people.