2007 University of Virginia study finding that children under 2 are 75 percent less likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries in a crash if they are facing the rear.
A New York Times article published on March 21, 2011 reported that Sweden has the lowest highway fatality rate for children under 6 and children are kept rear-facing there until the age of 4. It is now easier than ever to find rear-facing car seats that accommodate children weighing thirty-five and even forty pounds. Until recently, most rear-facing car seats had a weight limit restriction of twenty pounds. The premise which underlies the importance of rear-facing car seats is the physiognomy of an infant whose head is often much larger in proportion to the body with neck bones that are not fully matured. In a violent crash the head and neck can fly forward in a front-facing car seat while in a rear-facing seat the body is better supported by the shell of the car seat.
The new policy statement also advises that older children should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall, and 8 to 12 years old. A booster seat allows the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belt to fit properly, meaning the lap portion of the belt fits low across the hips and pelvis, and the shoulder portion fits across the middle of the shoulder and chest.
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