These directives are not yet law in Oregon, but they will be soon. And, most importantly, if all parents follow these suggestions, the risk of death and serious injury for children in car crashes will drop by an amazing 75%!

The new recommendations affect children of almost every age:

  • Babies should be rear-facing until age 2 years.
  • Toddlers should be in a five-point safety seat until they outgrow the height and weight limits of that particular seat (in other words, don’t switch to a booster seat until you have to).
  • Children should be in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall.
  • Teenagers should sit in the back seat until age 13 years.

Dr. B’s comments on these new recommendations:

  • The data is very strong to suggest that following these rules will prevent many deaths and injuries in kids. We should all follow these rules.
  • Our kids may not like the changes, but it’s our job as parents to insist that they stay safe. Dr. B’s kids were the last ones out of booster seats in their class…and her kids hated it!!
  • Other kids and parents may not adopt these rules…but that should not determine what you decide is best for your child. Be a leader at your child’s school — follow the new recommendations yourself, talk to other parents, and speak to your child’s teacher or school principal to encourage others to follow the new guidelines.
  • Be sure when you drive other school-age children in your car that you insist their parents provide a booster seat for them.
  • The front passenger seat is the most dangerous seat in any vehicle…keep your kids in the back seat, even after they turn 13, as much of the time as possible.

Car accidents are a leading cause of death in the USA, so slow down, get off your cell phone, and buckle your kids up following the new AAP guidelines.