The Biggest Car Seat Mistake Parents Make With Toddlers

It's a small milestone when you get to finally turn your baby's car seat from rear-facing to facing the front of the car. Finally, you can keep a closer eye on them, monitor their expressions for impending meltdowns and/or diaper changes, and easily hand back a dropped pacifier.

But a new study shows that almost three-quarters of parents are turning their child's car seat around way too early.

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Pediatricians used to tell moms it was OK to switch a seat around once a child reached 20 pounds or 1 year, but in 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced that it was safer to keep children rear-facing until they were at least 2 years old or had outgrown the height/weight limits of their car seat.

But when researchers at University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children Hospital asked parents when they actually did transition their kids to forward-facing seats, they discovered many are jumping the gun.

More From The Stir: 9 Dangerous Car Seat Mistakes Parents Make & How to Fix Them

In 2013, only 23 percent of parents followed the recommended guidlines and waited until their child had turned 2 years old. (That's up only slightly from 16 percent in 2011.) And 24 percent of parents with kids between the ages of 1 and 4 years old admitted to letting their kids face forward at or before 12 months.

In other words -- 75 percent of parents are getting it wrong!

Car accidents remain a leading cause of death among children in the U.S. Strapping kids in is crucial to keeping them safe , and rear-facing seats have been shown to reduce the risk of serious injuries.  In fact, the lead researcher of the study pointed out that in Sweden, kids stay in rear-facing car seats up until age 4 -- and their child traffic fatalities are some of the lowest in the world.

So while it's certainly more convenient to have a very young kiddo facing the front of the car, they're safer staying turned away until 2.

At what age did you turn your child's car seat around?


Image © iStock.com/woraput

 

 

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