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When Kim Kardashian posted an “Aww!”-worthy photo of Saint online, you’d think everyone would’ve swooned over the beautiful baby’s awesome adorableness. Except the one-year-old was pictured in a front-facing car seat. Let the shaming begin! Yep, Kardashian West got caught at the center of a car seat scandal. Facebook lit up with comments blasting the mama for turning the kiddo around too quickly — California law requires kids under age two AND less than 40 pounds or 40 inches to be in rear-facing seats. While everyone might just want to chill, as we don’t know the stats on Saint’s size, it does bring up the fact that there’s car seat confusion aplenty. Check out what you need to know about these super-necessary safety devices.
1. They work. Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it before — your mother let you ride on the front seat hump as a toddler and nothing happened to you. Sure, you weathered the totally unsafe station wagon rides of your youth without incident. But that doesn’t mean you were safe. Car seats seriously reduce the risk of death from motor vehicle accidents. The stats speak for themselves. Proper use of a car seat cuts the risk of infant death by 71 percent and the risk of toddler death by 54 percent, according to the CDC.
2. They’re not just for babies. Your kiddo isn’t so much a baby anymore. They’re a full-fledged kindergartner and way too cool for a car seat… or not. They still need to ride in a booster until they’re eight (or meet height and weight requirements). Like car seats for the tiny set, boosters can drastically decrease the risk of death from a car accident for kids ages 4-8. According to the CDC, the reduction rate is a whopping 45 percent.
3. There are both age and size guidelines. Getting back to Kim K’s predicament — lots of mamas don’t know whether they should go by age or size guidelines. Here’s the scoop from the AAP’s guidelines and the NHTSA, among other organizations and agencies. Infants and toddlers under two years should ride in rear-facing car seats. That is, unless they reach the highest weight OR height allowed by the seat manufacturer. If your kiddo outgrows their seat, it’s time to either…