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New Car Seat Guidelines: Rear Facing Seats Until Two Years Old

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The American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its recommendations on car seat usage. The AAP’s new policy now recommends that children remain in rear-facing car seats until age two.  Here is a summary of the new recommendations:

This policy statement provides 4 evidence-based recommendations for best practices in the choice of a child restraint system to optimize safety in passenger vehicles for children from birth through adolescence: (1) rear-facing car safety seats for most infants up to 2 years of age; (2) forward-facing car safety seats for most children through 4 years of age; (3) belt-positioning booster seats for most children through 8 years of age; and (4) lap-and-shoulder seat belts for all who have outgrown booster seats. In addition, a fifth evidence-based recommendation is for all children younger than 13 years to ride in the rear seats of vehicles. It is important to note that every transition is associated with some decrease in protection; therefore, parents should be encouraged to delay these transitions for as long as possible.

And from Parenting.com:

Previously, the AAP advised parents to keep kids rear-facing as long as possible, up to the maximum limit of the car seat, and this has not changed. But it also cited one year and 20 pounds as the minimum for flipping the seat, which many parents and pediatricians interpreted as conventional wisdom on the best time to make the switch. The new policy clarifies the AAP’s recommendation, making age two the new guideline—a real game-changer for parents of toddlers.