Car Seat Safety

As a parent, you worry about the safety of your child at all times. One fear you should put to rest is car seat safety, as long as you follow the precise guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 
 
But not everyone does. According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, researchers surveyed 491 parents of children 17 to 19 months on their car seat usage. Only 62 percent reported using a rear-facing car seat—this number should be 100 percent if they followed the AAP’s recommendation.  
 
Car Seat Safety Guidelines
You can find the following on Healthychildren.org, a site run by AAP pediatricians, along with a listing of car seats and car seat manufacturers


 
The AAP has revised their car seat guidelines to include toddlers to remain in the rear-facing position until at least the age of 2.
 
The AAP recommends that all infants ride rear facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 2 years of age or, preferably, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer. All parents can benefit from getting installation help from a CPST to ensure that their seat is properly installed. 
 
Types of Rear-Facing Seats
Three types of rear-facing seats are available: rear-facing–only, convertible, and 3-in-1. When children reach the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer of their rear-facing–only seat, they should continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible or 3-in-1 seat.
 
Rear-facing–only seats
Are used for infants up to 22 to 40 pounds, depending on the model.
Are small and have carrying handles.
Usually come with a base that can be left in the car. The seat clicks into and out of the base so you don't have to install it each time you use it. Parents can buy more than one base for additional vehicles.
Should be used only for travel (not sleeping, feeding, or any other use outside the vehicle).
 
Convertible seats (used rear facing)
Can be used rear facing and, later, converted to forward-facing for older children when they outgrow the weight limit, the length limit, or both for rear facing. This means the seat can be used longer by your child. They are bulkier than infant seats, however, and do not come with carrying handles or separate bases are designed to stay in the car.
 
Many have higher limits in rear-facing weight (up to 40–50 pounds) and height than rear-facing–only seats, which make them ideal for bigger babies and toddlers.
 
Have a 5-point harness that attaches at the shoulders, at the hips, and between the legs.
 
Should be used only for travel (not sleeping, feeding, or any other use outside the vehicle).
 
3-in-1 seats (used rear facing)
Can be used rear facing, forward facing, or as a belt-positioning booster. This means the seat may be used longer by your child as your child grows.
 
Are often bigger in size, so it is important to check that they fit in the vehicle while rear facing.
 
Do not have the convenience of a carrying handle or separate base; however, they may have higher limits in rear-facing weight (up to 40–50 pounds) and height than rear-facing–only seats, which make them ideal for bigger babies and toddlers.