New data shows children survive car crashes in better shape if they remain in rear-facing car seats until they are 2, and in booster seats until they reach 4’9″.
Hats off to Elizabeth Dole for raising the awareness of how simply wearing a seat belt could save your life in the first place. Can you remember: cars didn’t automatically come with seat belts! And no one wore them anyway! It seems like ancient history. Perhaps even Princess Diana could have survived had she been wearing a seat belt that fateful day.
Now our safety technology has progressed to include air bags, crumple-resistant frames, and car seats and boosters to keep kids safe. And more people survive car accidents in better shape because of these advances.
These new car seat recommendations, issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reflect analysis of traffic injury data from the past 15 years.
For toddlers, the reasoning to keep them rear-facing longer has to do with the size of their heads in relation to their necks and the chance of spinal cord injury from the force of a crash.
For older kids, mis-aligned seat belts can cause major stomach and spine injuries. Putting a too-small kid into an adult seatbelt without a booster can be as bad as placing a too-small child in the front seat, where they can be burned and suffocated by the passenger-side airbag if it deploys in a crash.
Better to keep kids safe with such an easy solution as a car seat, and keep yourself safe by wearing a seat belt, than to spend a lifestime trying to recover from the devastation.