Experts Determine Car Seats Safe for Overweight Children Too

By Trevor Dorchies | November 29, 2011
A recent study by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Injury Research and Prevention showed that excessive height and weight don't play a part for children who were properly secured in their booster seat. Around 1000 children ranging from age one to eight involved in an accident were surveyed. In the final analysis, the data showed that weight wasn't a factor. "Given that nearly 32 percent of children in the United States are categorized as overweight or obese, and motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for all children, we wanted to better understand how these two threats to children's health interact," said lead author Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE. "This research should reassure parents that their only concern when it comes to car seat safety should be to follow the most recent guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics." The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines state that children should be seated in rear-facing car seats until they are at least two years old. The AAP also says that a child can move out of a rear-facing car seat once they reach the required height and weight limit. A five-point harness is next, and AAP guidelines say that a child should remain in one until they again reach the required height and weight requirements. Finally a child can move to a belt-positioning booster seat until they are 4-feet 9-inches tall, usually between the ages of eight and 12 years old.
"A good time to re-evaluate child safety seat needs is during your child's routine medical visits. Compare your child's weight and height measurements to the manufacturer's acceptable ranges on the seat's labels or instructions," says Zonfrillo. "There's no 'one-size-fits-all.' If your older child moved to a booster seat at age 5, don't necessarily assume it will be the same for his or her younger siblings." A child's pediatrician and family doctor should also play a vital role in making sure their patient is properly protected while in a vehicle. At a normal checkup where the child's height and weight are recorded the doctor should advise the parents on what kind of safety seat the child should be in. Researchers believe doctors should have no problem discussing this with a family and if a question is too multifaceted a safety technician can also be brought in to answer questions. Do you have a child in a booster or safety seat? Post any questions you may have about car seats below. Source: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia