What to know about child car seat safety

In a hurry to move junior to a car booster seat? Well, you may want to think again. New child safety seat guidelines outline when the right time is to advance your child to a larger car seat or booster.

It goes without saying, but child safety seats - and their proper use - save lives each day. As parents, children are your most important concern. The fact is that children's lives are saved every day by proper use of car seat restraints. Craig Swapp & Associates sees it in their practices every single day.

Shockingly, according to Craig Swapp & Associates, children younger than one-year-old who use car seats have their mortality decreased by 71 percent. When compared to only using a seatbelt, car seats reduce the risk of injury by 54 percent in children one to four years old. In children four to eight years old, booster seats reduce the risk by 45 percent.

If you've got a little one, you might be interested to learn about the new set of guidelines for children's car seats. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised its guidelines for child safety seat use, which is now based on the child's age and not the seat design.

The AAP recommends keeping a child in a particular seat for as long as possible before moving him or her up to the next level. Read through the guidelines below:

Under Age 1:  Children should always ride in a rear-facing car seat designed for infants.

Ages 1 to 3: Children should be kept rear-facing car seat as long as possible until they exceed the child seat manufacturer`s maximum height or weight limits. Once that limit is surpassed, the child should be moved up to a forward-facing seat equipped with a five-point security harness.

Ages 4-7: Children should be kept in a forward-facing child seat with a five-point harness as long as possible - again until they reach the seat`s maximum height or weight limit. Once that limit is reached, a seat belt-positioning booster seat should be used.

Ages 8-12: Children should be placed in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are large enough for a seat belt to properly fit (4-foot, nine-inches in height). A properly fitting seat belt will lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.

Up to age 13: Children should remain in the back seat until they reach 13 years of age.

As parents, you could be tempted to move a child to the next level prematurely.  For the sake of your child`s safety in a car accident, please follow these new guidelines. For more information, visit http://www.craigswapp.com.