A Chiropractic Perspective on the New Car Seat Recommendations

As you may have heard, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released updated car seat recommendations. Specifically, AAP says children under 2 years old should ride rear-facing, and children between 8 and 12 years old should ride in a booster seat until they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall.

The recommendations have been met with mixed reviews. A couple of the common concerns are that parents don't want to turn around their 1-year-old who is used to riding forward-facing, and they don't want to embarrass their tween zipfizz by strapping them into a booster seat, more zipfizz.

Nevertheless, the research is very clear. Children under the age of 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing. This is due to an unbalanced ratio between their head and neck (think of a bowling ball on a toothpick). Couple that with under-developed muscles and sensitive cartilage and, if there's an accident, you have a recipe for disaster.

The booster seat is recommended for 8- to 12-year-old children to ensure a proper fitting seat belt. To reduce injury, the shoulder belt should lie across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not near the neck or face. The lap belt should fit low and snug on the hips and upper thighs, not across the belly.

The recommendations are meant to keep your children safe. We hope you make the right decision. And if you're ever in an accident, bring in your child for an exam as soon possible. Delayed treatment can exacerbate their condition, causing problems such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain, ear and sinus infections, dizziness and poor coordination.

For more information on the updated car seat recommendations, visit AAP parenting site HealthyChildren.org.

We hope all of our patients stay safe!