Car Seat FAQs

3 Jan

Remember laying in the back of the car above the rear seat?  You’re playing Mario on the old Nintendo Game Boy and listening to Michael Jackson sing “Beat It.”  Now, your children are playing 3D video games and it seems like your junior high age child has to sit in a booster seat….

So, times have changed, from entertainment to safety recommendations and I’m going to share with you the newest recommendations from the AAP.

Click the link to the full AAP summary…

Summary to AAP Guidelines for Car Seat Safety

Here are the main bullet points with my personal point in RED:

  • Infants and toddlers should ride facing the rear of the vehicle until at least 2 years of age. States may choose to adopt age 1 requirements immediately, and phase in a requirement to ride rear-facing until age 2 within 2 to 4 years, with provision for educating parents in the interim about the benefits of riding rear-facing as long as possible.  (Currently Texas allows you to be rear facing at age 1 AND 20 lbs)
  • Young children should ride in car safety seats with a harness until at least age 4, with guidance educating parents and caregivers about the benefits of riding in a seat with a 5- point harness up to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer. (You can leave your kid in a car seat as long as you want according to the specifications of your car seat.)
  • School-aged children should ride in belt positioning booster seats until at least age 8 or until the seat belt fits correctly, as described by the AAP and NHTSA.
  • Children should ride in the rear-seat until age 13. (Not 3 like the child my wife and I saw riding up front with daddy last week…CPS is so overworked but I always consider calling them with the license plate about this kind of stuff…Any thoughts?)
  • Seat belt laws should apply to all vehicle occupants and should be subject to primaryenforcement.

If you have any more specific questions concerns about the guidelines or about practical use of car seats please comment and I’ll be glad to answer or look up the answer if I don’t know it…

Here’s a great app by the AAP called Car Seat Check that you can download at iTunes and for Android.

If you live in Texas, you can find the DPS recommendations at


7 Responses to “Car Seat FAQs”

  1. Amanda January 3, 2013 at 3:19 am #

    On the first bullet point: Does that mean states will be required in 2-4 years to change the law to rear facing until the age of 2?

    When Jude was care flighted to Cook’s I was bombarded with millions of questions and information from nurses once we arrived. One of the things they went over with me was car seat safety. Later, once I got to know the ICU doctors and nurses better, I asked them why they went over that info with me when Jude was transferred as opposed to when we were discharged. They see a lot of babies and young children in car accidents there and have seen first hand the difference extended rear facing and harnesses make, so they want to make sure parents get that information. Since patients aren’t usually discharged from the ICU (just transferred to other floors) they give that information to parents at the earliest opportunity.

    Most of my circle of friends are well educated about car seat safety, but still choose to front face at age 1 or shortly after for convenience. A change in the law would be great, imo.

    • jrsmith120880 January 3, 2013 at 3:24 am #

      Yes, my understanding is that the law will be required in 2-4 years. Texas currently allows you to forward face at 1 year but that should be changing at some point. I sit on the board at the Texas Pediatric Society and that has been a point we have lobbied at the Texas legislature in the past…My experience is that many people to turn their kids around at 1 year. The most common reason I get is that the children’s legs don’t fit but I think if you go ahead and upgrade to a large convertible seat the kids can fit fine until 2 years of age rear facing.

  2. Ronda Johnson February 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    I wonder how well the rear facing carseat will work in a kid that is 2 years old. Kids are pretty tall by that time. Size wise is that a safe fit considering there legs?

    • jrsmith120880 February 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      Yes, they can look really cramped but there is not a any risk associated with that. The AAP is pretty definite that they feel rear facing is safer until 2.

  3. Tara August 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    “School-aged children should ride in belt positioning booster seats until at least age 8 or until the seat belt fits correctly, as described by the AAP and NHTSA.”

    does this mean that there is no height requirement? just the age of 8? also, is it law that kids need to be 13 to sit in front?

    • jrsmith120880 August 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

      Adult safety belts can be used when the child has outgrown their booster…usually 4’9″ or 100 pounds. In Texas, there is no age requirement.

      The CDC recommends that children ride in the back until 13 years of age but I cannot find a specific law on the Texas website. If anyone out there can find it or knows where it is, I would appreciate you sharing it with us.


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