What I want every parent and grandparent to know about car seat safety


Some of us spend more than half of our day in our cars. With our children.

We drive them to school, to day-care, to pre-school, to dance class, to soccer practice…you name it.

There’s no doubt we want them to be safe.

So, each and every time we buckle them in, shouldn’t we know and be reassured that we’re doing it in the safest way possible?

If you have not yet heard, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) came out with new car seat safety guidelines in March of this year.

In brief, infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least two years old. Once your child has graduated to forward facing in a car seat, keep him in a 5 point harness for as long as possible (yes, beyond the typical 4 years of age). Your child should remain in a belt positioning booster until she is 4 feet and 9 inches. And, no child under 13 should ride in the front seat of a car.

For more details on these recommendations, please follow me on over to my Dr.Mom column in today’s Sacramento Bee.


Here are some fantastic web sites to assist you in determining what kind of car seat is the safest for your child. Please visit them all and be in the know about car seat and booster safety!

AAP Car Seat Recommendations

The Car Seat Lady



What do you think about these recommendations?

5 Responses to What I want every parent and grandparent to know about car seat safety
  1. Katherine
    November 1, 2011 | 9:38 am

    We are car seat fanatics. My 5 year old still rides in 5 point harness car seats, and my 9 year old has a booster, because otherwise the seat belt is too high on him. I do everything I can to keep them safe because, well…why not!

    • Melissa
      November 2, 2011 | 12:00 am

      That is great Katherine! My 6 year old is still harnessed too. I agree…when it comes to safety, I don’t see any drawbacks here. :)

  2. Stefanie
    November 3, 2011 | 12:38 pm

    I’m all for these recommendations. My son rode in a harness until he was almost 6, and my daughter rode rear facing until 18 months. I definitely plan on keeping my baby rear facing until she’s 2!

  3. Sherri
    November 3, 2011 | 2:10 pm

    It amazes me how many parents are just annoyed and adamant that they will not “do this” to their child. It just keeps changing, and it’s almost like people just don’t want to be bothered.

    But if it may save your kid? Then it’s no bother.

    My daughter was always on the smallish side, and if it meant she was safer I totally would have kept her in the booster longer.

  4. Tasha
    November 5, 2011 | 10:16 am

    I think it’s great actually. Who wouldn’t want their child to be as safe as safe could be. Something I hear all the time, especially from older generations, “we didn’t have fancy car seats back when I was a kid, and we turned out just fine”, ya but, if your parents understood back then just how important a car seat could be, then things would have been different. We’re just more knowledgeable these days, and extremely proactive. I thinks it’s great!