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Atlanta Car Crash Lawyer: NHTSA Releases New Car Seat Guidelines

If you are a parent, keeping your child safe in the car is a high priority.  This week the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced new guidelines for the use of booster seats and car seats.  The policy statement was published in the April 2011 issue of the journal Pediatrics. The new guidelines protect children with the recommendation is that babies stay in rear-facing car seats longer and that children use a booster seat until they are eight to twelve years old.
 
Here are the details:
 
New Rear-Facing Recommendation
 

Parents should keep children in rear-facing infant seats or convertible car seats until they are 2 years old, and suggests that children stay rear-facing until they reach the maximum height and weight limit of the car seat.  Most car seats can be used rear-facing until a child weighs 40 pounds.  The previous recommendation was until one year and 20 pounds.  They suggest that children under two who are forward facing, go back to rear-facing.
 
Why the change? A rear-facing car seat supports the head, neck and spine of young children and distributes the force of the crash across the body in order to protect from serious injury. In 2007, a study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under two years old are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing.  
 
A second study found riding rear-facing to be five times safer than forward-facing.  While forward facing car seats are more convenient for parents, the safety advantage of a rear-facing seat is worth the inconvenience.
 
New Booster Seat Recommendation

  
Children should ride in a belt-positioning booster-seat with a high-back until they are at least 4 foot, 9 inches, AND 8-12 years old.  
 
However, children who fit in a convertible car seat are safest in a harnessed seat. Learn more in our article: "The Atlanta parent's guide to preventing injury with booster seats."
 
Atlanta car crash lawyer Shane Smith has seen too many children injured in Georgia car wrecks and he supports the new recommendations. The loss of a child to a Georgia car crash is one of the toughest situations a family can face.
 
If your child has been injured or killed in a Georgia car crash, we'd like to help you get accountability and compensation. Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith at 770-HURT-999 to learn more or download our free book: "10 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Georgia Wreck Case".
 
For more information about Georgia car seat law, read our article: "Georgia Car Seat Law: keeping your children safe".


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia