The AAP and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have recently released new car seat guidelines. The guidelines are no longer based on the type of car seat but instead are based on the child’s age. Both the AAP and the NHTSA are now recommending that parents keep their infants in a rear facing car seat as long as possible before moving them to a forward facing car seat. Parents should keep their children in a rear facing car seat until they are at least two years of age or until they reach the maximum weight and height limits recommended by their car safety seat's manufacturer, according to new guidelines from the AAP and the NHTSA.
In addition, parents should be conservative when moving their child from one type of car seat to the next. Children should stay in each type of car seat for as long as possible before moving to the next type of car seat. For example, they should move from a rear facing to a forward facing seat once they have reached the maximum weight and height limits or up to 3 years of age, then to a forward facing car seat until they reach the maximum weight and height limits or up to 7 years of age, and finally to a booster seat until they are up to 12 years of age. The NHTSA has also released a new car seat recommendations chart to help parents decide which car seat is best for their child’s weight and age.