So if you are expecting, about to become a grandparent, already a parent or you (or your child) just got a summer job as a nanny or babysitter: READ this post!

Car seat safety guidelines have changed radically in the last few years. So, even if you have younger kids, you might not be aware of the new rules.

In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their recommendation on car seat guidelines, urging parents to keep toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age two, or until they exceed the height or weight limit for the car seat (which might not occur until the child's third or even fourth birthday).

In fact, the AAP had previously advised parents to keep kids rear-facing as long as possible, up to the maximum limit of the car seat. However, the AAP also cited one year and 20 pounds as the minimum for flipping the seat, which many parents and pediatricians interpreted as the best time to make the switch. The new policy clarifies the AAP’s recommendation, making age two the new guideline.

"My kid's legs are squished" is a common reason to want to switch, but it shouldn't be. Your child can bend his legs easily; but, most importantly, Injuries to the legs are rare for children facing the rear.

In terms of injuries, studies vary, but findings have revealed that children under age two are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing. Another study found riding rear-facing to be five times safer than forward-facing.

The bottom line" Children should be rear facing until the age of 2 -- and then for as long as they meet their seat's height/weight requirements.

And, as a final note: take your installed seat to your local fire station for a safety check!

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics.

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