(StatePoint) When it comes to car travel, families know that keeping baby safe and happy is essential, and understanding the latest expert recommendations is one of the best ways to help keep children as safe as possible.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated its recommendation on how long children should ride in rear-facing car seats. The AAP removed the age guideline of 2 years old and now advises parents that all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible until reaching the maximum rear-facing height or weight restrictions set by their car seat manufacturer, which for many children is well past the age of 2.
As children grow older and more curious, it can be trying at times to keep them rear-facing in their car seat. Here are some helpful tips to keep children happily rear-facing and to make car rides fun and enjoyable for all:
• Sing-along songs: It can be difficult to calm a baby from the front seat when traveling without another adult in the car. But the next best thing to seeing a parent’s face is hearing his or her voice. Sing lullabies or even your favorite song of the moment to soothe your baby.
• Control the temperature: Your car’s temperature can truly make or break an outing with your baby. Before strapping your little one into his or her car seat, turn on the air conditioning to cool the back seat or the heat to warm it up so that the car reaches a comfortable temperature sooner.
• Find the right car seat: There are several car seats available to keep children riding rear-facing longer. For example, Graco Extend2Fit car seats feature a built-in extension panel to provide extra legroom rear-facing. The extension panel is included on nine models, seven of which accommodate children up to 50 pounds, rear-facing. To learn more about these car seats, visit gracobaby.com.
• Play a game: Car games, like “I Spy,” are easy to learn and perfect for keeping rear-facing toddlers entertained. All passengers can play this interactive game and take turns picking out the mystery item for others to guess.
A smooth car ride is precious to parents, and, with these tips, you’ll be able to keep babies and toddlers safe and happy during every outing.