The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending that all children ride in rear-facing car seats until they are at least 2 years old in new guidelines.
The old recommendation was that children should stay in rear-facing seats until they were at least 1 and weighed 20 pounds or more. Rear-facing seats help protect the head and neck of a child in the event of an accident. Head and neck injuries can be more severe in children because of their lighter weight and still-developing bodies.
Car accidents result in over 1,500 children under the age of 16 dying each year. In addition, roughly 18 children require hospitalization and 400 need medical attention for every 1 death.
The guidelines also advise that parents should use booster seats and seat belts appropriately after their child has outgrown a rear-facing seat.
The new guidelines will be published in the journal Pediatrics for their April 2011 edition.