Published on March 23, 2011

New Car Seat Guidelines

Is Lawrence/Douglas County ahead of the curve?

Click here for Karrey Britt, LJWorld Health Reporter’s complete story. 

In a policy published in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics, it advises parents:

  • to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat.

  • to keep children in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

The previous policy, from 2002, advised that it is safest for infants and toddlers to ride rear-facing up to the limits of the car seat, but it also cited age 12 months and 20 pounds as a minimum. As a result, many parents turned the seat to face the front of the car when their child celebrated his or her first birthday.

“Parents often look forward to transitioning from one stage to the next, but these transitions should generally be delayed until they’re necessary, when the child fully outgrows the limits for his or her current stage.”

— Dr. Dennis Durbin, lead author of the policy statement

While the rate of deaths in motor vehicle crashes in children under age 16 has decreased substantially — 45 percent between 1997 and 2009 — it is still the leading cause of death for children ages 4 and older. Counting children and teens up to age 21, there are more than 5,000 deaths each year.

John Drees, RN of LMH Community Education & Safe Kids of Douglas County Coalition, said the organization has been following the 2011 recommendations for two years, since the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia released a study on child car seat safety. It found that rear-facing children up to age 2 were 500 percent safer in real-world cases.

The coalition provides about 600 free child seat safety checks annually and gives away 200.

Upcoming child safety seat events around Lawrence:

  • Saturday, April 2 — 9 a.m. to noon, Dale Willey Automotive, 2840 Iowa. No appointments needed.
  • Tuesday, April 5 - 9 a.m. to noon, 225 Maine St, Appointment only - ConnectCare 785-749-5800
  • Saturday, Apirl 9 - 9 a.m. to noon, Christ Auto, 2515 E Logan, Ottawa. No appointments needed.
  • Wednesday, April 13 - 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., 225 Maine St, Appointment only - ConnectCare 785-749-5800
  • Wednesday, April 20 - 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., A Childs World Oskaloosa, No appointments needed.
  • Friday, April 29 - 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., 225 Maine St, Appointment only - ConnectCare 785-749-5800.

A car seat guide is available for parents. 

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New Car Seat Guidelines