The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has revised its child-safety seat guidelines to make them easier for parents to follow. The new guidelines now focus on a child’s age and recommends that parents keep their children in the appropriate car seats for as long as possible — ideally, until the child reaches the car seat’s height or weight limits.
“Selecting the right seat for your child can be a challenge for many parents,” NHTSA administrator David Strickland said in a press release. “NHTSA’s new revised guidelines will help consumers pick the appropriate seat for their child.” The new NHTSA guidelines are below:
Birth to 12 months old
1 to 3 years old
4 to 7 years old
8 to 12 years old
These new guidelines mean that kids will be in nearly all of their child-safety seats for a longer period of time. Parents should no longer change the position of a rear-facing convertible to forward-facing when a child turns 1. Many parents may wonder if an 18-month-old or 2-year-old will fit in a rear-facing car seat, but the child can simply fold their legs or sit cross-legged.
Parents also should keep their children out of the front seat until they’re 13 years old.
An American Academy of Pediatrics study published today in the journal Pediatrics also recommends keeping young children in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible.
To learn more about NHTSA’s recommendations, click here.