The American Academy of Pediatrics has published updated recommendations for car seat safety. Parents often look forward to transitioning their child from rear-facing car seats to front-facing car seats. The previous recommendation was to keep children in rear-facing car seats to age 2. Now it is recommended to remain rear-facing until they weigh 40 pounds or more which means that most children remain rear-facing past their second birthday.

The AAP recommendations are as follow:

Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing car seats as long as possible until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat. Most convertible seats have limits that will allow children to ride rear-facing for two years or more.

Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, until they reach the height and weight limits for their seat. Many seats can accommodate children up to 65 pounds or more.

When children exceed these limits, they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicles’ lap, and shoulder seat belt fit properly. This is often when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8-12 years old.

When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use the lap and shoulder belts for optimal protection.

All children younger than 13 years old should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.

Cold weather in fall and winter can be tricky for car seat safety.

Bulky clothing, such as winter coats and snowsuits should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat. Tips on keeping your child warm while riding in their car seat can be found on the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

Have a safe and healthy winter!