NHTSA revises child restraint guidelines

Baby in car seatThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has revised its child restraint guidelines to be categorized by age rather than by type of child seat in order to keep pace with the latest scientific and medical research.

“Under the new guidelines, issued today, NHTSA is advising parents and caregivers to keep children in each restraint type, including rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seats, for as long as possible before moving them up to the next type of seat,” the NHTSA said in a statement.

For example, the NHTSA recommends using the rear facing position as long as children fit within the height and weight limits of the car seat. It said that the rear-facing position reduces stresses to the neck and spinal cord and is important for growing babies.

“Safety is our highest priority,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The ‘best’ car seat is the one that fits your child, fits your vehicle and one you will use every time your child is in the car.”

Check out some additional tips from the NHTSA after the jump.

Additional recommendations for child seat use from NHTSA include the following:

  • Always read child seat manufacturers’ instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual for important information on height and weight limits and how to install the car seat using the seat belt or the LATCH system.
  • All children under 13 should ride in the back seat.
  • Children in rear-facing car seats should never ride in front of an active passenger air bag.

– By: Omar Rana