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Car Seats

Car Seat Policy

My son is 19 lbs and over 28 inches - when should we consider getting a new carseat?  What is the next step in seats?

Every car seat is different. Look on the side of your infant’s car seat and you can find the weights and heights allowed. Once your child is close to out growing their infant car seat most parents will need to purchase a convertible car seat. Convertible car seats can be installed either rear or front facing. Choose a car seat that fit your child’s current size and allows for growth. Car seat requirements are different in every state.

Florida law requires
- Children must be in rear facing car seats until they are 12 months and 20 pounds.
- Children 3 years old and under must be in a five point restrained car seat
- 4 and 5 year old may be placed in a booster seat restrained by a seat belt

Honestly, in regards to child car seat safety Florida has some of the least protective laws in the United States. Montana and Alaska have stricter laws!

One of the hot topics in car seat safety is extending the rear facing period beyond 12 months.

In the spring of 2009 the AAP News sited an article that could change the AAP policy on car seats. This study “Car safety seats for children: rear facing for best protection” is author by Dr. B. Henary et al. This study looked United States crash data between 1988 and 2003. While it concludes that rear facing car seats are safer for children under 2 years old, the study has some limitations.

- excluded the worst crashes (like roll overs)
- only studied 870 children
- few rear facing children to be studied in the United States. Only 60 rear facers were studied between 12 and 23 months (only 13% of the studied children over 1 year old)
- only statistically significant finding is in side impact crashes (the least common type of crash).

While I do not think this study is strong enough to change AAP policy, I do believe that the issue needs to further studied.

Current Gordon Family Car Seat Policy

- Rear facing until 15 months old and 20 lbs.
- 5 point car seat until 4 years old and 40 lbs
- Booster seat until 8 years old



Written October, 2010 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician


 is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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