HealthBeat

Updated Car Seat Guidelines

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - If you have little ones who ride in the car, you may want to take a look at the updated car seat guidelines. 

From checking expiration dates on seats, to facing them the right direction, the information could be life saving. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated the recommendations on car seats. 

Mother of two, Krista Tschetter says paying attention to these changes is crucial for the safety of her kids. 

"Just following those guidelines, and insuring that we have them harnessed correctly with the buckle where it should be... just following those things is important because you never know when an accident can happen," Tschetter said. 

The guidelines recommend children stay in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat, different from the previous 2-year-old mark. 

"Just a few years ago we were encouraging parents to turn kids around forward facing at a year of age, a few years ago we updated that to 2 years of age, but now we're encouraging kids to stay backwards as long as possible," Dr. Jennifer Haggar said. 

Haggar says when children are faced backwards during an accident their neck and head are safer. 

"When a car is in an accident, the car is decelerating or slowing down. If the child is forward facing you can imagine how much the body moves forward, their head and neck strength is just not as good as ours and it puts them at increased risk of trauma," Haggar said. 

It's also important to stay on top of a car seats expiration date. 

"I think it is important to know that car seats expire, that there is a date stamped on the bottom of the car seat. Most commonly that's 5-7 years after purchase," Haggar said. 

"Elliot is our second baby and so I checked the expiration date on his car seat before he arrived so I insured that it was still in working condition," Tschetter said. 

But Haggar says there's one guideline she feels tops them all. 

"I think more importantly than anything, than which seat or how much you spend on it... it's having it appropriately fitted into the car, attached snuggly," Haggar said. 

Haggar says Sanford Health offers a service that will check your car seats for you in addition to the fire stations in Sioux Falls to ensure your children are sitting correctly. 

Tschetter says after having a colicky baby she understands it's not always easy, but her advice to other moms is simple. 

"You know, not taking them out even if they are fussy. Elliot was colic so it was really challenging to leave him in the car seat and listen to him cry but you know knowing that's important because you never know when an accident could happen," Tschetter said. 

For more information on the new guidelines, click here.


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