NHTSA Issues New Child Safety Seat Guidelines

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued new child seat safety guidelines. These latest guidelines advise parents to keep children in each type of restraint for as long as possible before moving the child up to the next type of safety seat. Parents should look at the height and weight limitations for their child’s car seat, and continue to use that car seat until their child grows out of the seat. These NHTSA guidelines could mean that some children stay in rear facing restraints, forward facing car seats, and backseat boosters for much longer than their parents initially anticipated.

The NHTSA’s safety seat guidelines are consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) advice on the issue. Both groups stress that there is no rush to transition a child into the next type of restraint. For example, toddlers should continue to use rear-facing safety seats until they are either two years old, or reach the maximum height or weight for their rear-facing seat.

The NHTSA has specific recommendations for children of every age, but their advice generally follows some basic principles. First, parents should always follow their car seat’s instructions and their vehicle’s owner manual when installing their child’s safety restraint. If parents are unsure about how to install a car seat, they can visit a certified technician who can check their car seat’s installation for free. Second, parents should carefully select a car seat based on their child’s age, height, and weight. Once parents have purchased a car seat, they should keep their child in that car seat for as long as possible, so long as the child fits the seat’s height and weight requirements. Lastly, the back seat is the safest place for a child, and so children under the age of 13 should always ride in the back seat.

As Florida personal injury attorneys, we see first hand the difference that proper safety restraints can make in an accident. Child injury frequently occurs after a car accident because kids are improperly restrained. Luckily, the NHTSA makes it easy for parents to select the right car seat for their child.

If your child was recently injured and you are interested in pursuing compensation, call the Florida child injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine today. A free initial consultation can help you to determine your next course of action.