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According to the  American Academy of Pediatric, in the Pediatricsmedical journal,  children under 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are in a rear-facing child restraint. Originally the suggestion was to turn them after one year.

The group also recommends that children remain in a seat with a five-point safety harness as long as possible and should only transition to a booster seat that relies on the car’s adult seat belts when children exceeds the height and weight limit for the five-point harness.

Although the number of small children killed in motor vehicle crashes has decreased substantially — dropping 45 percent between 1997 and 2009 (under the age of 16) — car crashes are still the leading cause of death for children ages 4 and older. If you count children and teens up to age 21, there are more than 5,000 deaths each year.

The USA Today reported:

The new guidelines are “a fantastic step,” says Jennifer Hoekstra, who coordinates a child safety program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Hoekstra says parents of toddlers under age 2 who already are using forward-facing seats shouldn’t panic, because forward-facing seats still provide good protection.

“If you are using your forward-facing car seat correctly, your child is safe,” Hoekstra says. But 73% of car seats are installed incorrectly, according to a 2005 study in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

When researchers at the emergency room of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia looked at children between the ages of 1 and 4 hurt in wrecks, leg injuries were rare for those in rear-facing seats, but they were the second most common injury for those in forward-facing seats. Between the injuries and the saved lives, this sounds like a change that will make a difference.

Here are some other posts we have had on these issues:

Does my Teenager Need a Booster Seat??, Joe Crumley | July 28, 2009 3:03 PM

Booster Seats Through Age Eight, Mike Bryant | April 09, 2009 9:02 AM

Need Help With Buying A Child Car Seats?, Mike Bryant | May 30, 2010 9:58 AM

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