Car seats are designed to keep your child safe while traveling in a motor vehicle. One important thing to keep in mind with car seats is that they are at their safest when used correctly. Each car seat manufacturer has a set of guidelines including height and weight requirements. Many car seat and child safety experts are encouraging parents to keep their child in rear facing seats until they reach the maximum weight and height requirements. Here are some tips to determine if your child should be rear or forward facing.
Forward Facing Requirements
The minimum requirement for forward facing is one year old or twenty pounds, but the American Academy of Pediatric's current recommendation is that a child should stay rear facing until the age of two. A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age two are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing. Another study found riding rear-facing to be five times safer than forward-facing. Experts say that rear facing car seats support the head and neck much better, therefore protecting the child from serious injuries during a crash.
Extended Rear Facing Car Seats
If you have decided to do extended rear facing with your child it is important to find a car seat that has a high maximum weight and height requirement. Most convertible car seats have a 40-45 pound maximum but it’s also important to check the maximum height limit as well. The Britax Marathon, Diano Radian, Graco Smart All in One Seat, and Chicco NextFit are all highly rated and recommended for extended rear facing. Many parents worry about their child’s leg room when rear facing. Experts say that leg room shouldn’t be a concern when rear facing because it’s not as uncomfortable as it seems and it doesn’t pose any risk to the child.
Make sure you check on your individual state’s car seat requirements before switching to a forward facing car seat. It will be much easier to access your child from the front seat and it will also make it easier to take your child in and out of the car. When you decide to turn your child forward make sure you have done all of your research and that it is the right time for you. Children that have faced forward might be disappointed to turn back around if they love the new view.