Did You Move Your Child to a Booster Seat too Soon?

Remember those days when babies and small children sat in the front seat next to the driver? At the time, the conventional wisdom was this close proximity allowed mom or dad to tend to the child`s needs while driving. Now, in this age of dangerous passenger seat air-bags, we cringe at the thought of exposing our children to such a dangerous position.

Craig Swapp of Craig Swapp and Associates tells us that child safety seats - and their proper use - save lives each day. He stopped by to talk 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 are based on the child`s age, instead of 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.

Here are the guidelines:
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, we can 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 on car seat safety, see the following link: http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/carseatsafety.cfm.

You can find Craig Swapp at www.craigswapp.com.

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