All About Babies

AAP Updates Car Seat Safety Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics updated its car seat safety guidelines, to make it easier for parents to understand the safest way for children to travel.

Car Seat Guidelines Maria Sbytova/Shutterstock
There's one issue that's tricky for pretty much every parent out there: car seat safety. So many questions come up when it comes to putting your baby in safely for a car ride—did you install the car seat properly? Is your baby facing in the right direction? Is he or she sitting in the proper position? Is your baby too big for the car seat? Too small? How long will he or she have to be in a seat?

The good news? The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidelines to help give parents a more comprehensive guide to car seat safety.

The AAP powers HealthyChildren.org, a site that offers up credible information for parents looking to keep their children safe. The site has published a graphic containing information parents can easily reference where car safety guidelines are concerned. While keeping the chart handy is a great idea (we suggest taking a screenshot for easy access on your phone!), there are certain takeaways that will serve you well.

Here's how the guidelines break down: Children should be in rear-facing seats until they are two years old (or until they reach the seat's height or weight maximum). After that, they should sit in forward-facing seats with harnesses until they reach those height/weight limits, at which point they should graduate to belt-positioning booster seats until the car's regular seat belts fit them properly. Another thing to note? All children under age 13 should always sit in the back seat.

The site also offers up answers to questions that will arise for so many parents out there, from how tight your seat's harness should be, to what you can do if your child slouches down in the seat—it even includes information on how you should dress your baby before putting him or her in a seat.

All in all, the updated guidelines offer clearer information for parents who are grappling with the difficult task of keeping kids as safe as possible during car rides.