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New AAP Guidelines for Car Seat Usage

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines for car seat use.

The new guidelines, which will be published in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics, have several changes in the recommendations for car seat usage.


  • All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear facing car safety seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat's manufacturer.


  • All children 2 years or older, or those who have outgrown the rear facing weight or height limit for their car safety seat, should use a forward facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer.


  • All children whose weight or height is above the forward facing limit for their car safety seat should use a belt positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 ft 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years old.


  • When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should use a lap and shoulder belt.  All children younger than 13 should be restrained in the rear seat of the vehicle.

For more information or questions on the policy change, please call 1-800-CAR-BELT.