Experts Reminding Parents How to Safely Restrain Kids in Cars

Posted: Updated:
Testing at IIHS Testing at IIHS
Jessica Jermakian Jessica Jermakian
Derrick Johnson Derrick Johnson

Many new parents say they're confused when it comes to the right safety restraint for kids riding in cars. Rules and regulations are constantly changing, while kids are growing heavier and taller each day.

Over the years, car seat developers have been creating restraints that can have higher weight limits, but the height limit for kids hasn't been evolving as quickly.

NBC29’’s Madison Carter talked with parents to see what they knew and how that stacks up with the latest safety recommendations from experts.

“Newborn babies should always ride rear-facing. They should ride rear-facing up until at least age 2,” said Jessica Jermakian, research engineer at Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

That's the advice actual safety engineers give, but some parents say there is no way their kid could ride rear-facing that long.

“My youngest was in like a rear-facing seat, so once he was really tall his legs were like cramped up on the backseat. So it was pretty tough to kind of do that until he was like 2,” said Derrick Johnson, father of four.

Researchers at IIHS say if that's the case, then pay attention to the limits set by car-seat manufacturers.

“Parents should look at the height and weight requirement of their car seat, and if their child needs either one of them then their child should move to the next restraint,” Jermakian said.

From front-facing car seats through booster seats, height and weight are some indicators to figure out the best option, but when it comes time to move up front…

“That is an age standard that dates back to when we had problems with airbags in the front seat, and children who were out of position were getting injured and killed by airbags,” Jermakian explained.

The age restriction is because of how airbags in the backseat deploy like curtains to protect from head and neck damage. The IIHS says this design has reduced child fatality risk by 45 percent.

Click here to see the latest ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.