The American Academy of Pediatrics is now advising:
All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Safety Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.
The new April 2011 issue of Pediatrics states this as well. Studies show that kids under age 2 are 75 % less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash when their car seats are rear-facing.
Parents usually can’t wait until their toddlers turn 1 to turn the car seats around, this was the previous advisory for the minimum age to turn seats to forward facing, coupled with 20lbs. It is obviously easier to interact with your baby when they are forward facing but with stats like these, how can you not keep your child rear facing?
If you have already switched your car seat to forward facing and your child is not yet 2, go ahead and try to switch it back. Kids are pretty resilient and will get use to the switch back. If you don’t think your toddler can handle the switch, at least try it for a week. If it doesn’t work for you, you might have to switch it back. For parents that have not yet made the early switch, just make it the plan to not switch the car seat to forward facing until your child is 2 years old OR until you need to switch it based on your car seat guidelines.
Rear Facing Car Seats for 2 year old toddlers
Not just any car seat can accommodate the American Academy of Pediatrics advisory. Also reference your installation guide for your car seat for weight restrictions, height restrictions, and installation. The advisory is for kids to stay rear-facing until 2 OR until their car seat needs to be switched to forward facing. Not all car seats are designed alike. Saftey 1st is ahead of the curve and has already been making car seats that will accommodate kids staying rear-facing for longer, based on their own studies on child safety. I recently reviewed the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air Protect Infant Car Seat and Safety 1st Complete Air™ Protect Convertible Car Seat. Both Safety 1st will accommodate the new American Academy of Pediatrics Rear Facing Car Seat Guidelines. Plus, Safety 1st has others that will work.
Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air Protect Infant Car Seat
Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air Protect Infant Car Seat allows for your baby to be placed rear-facing from 4 lbs up to toddlers that are 35lbs. That is quite a range! With 17% more leg room than most infant car seats, it can accommodate a child up to 32″ in height.
Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat
Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat allows your baby to be placed rear-facing from 5lbs up to 40lbs and 19-40inches which is much longer than most car seats available.
How to install your car seat correctly
Above all, be sure your car seat is installed correctly. 85% of car seats are improperly installed! This is not the time to wing it or guess. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for each car seat. If you are unsure if your child’s seat is secured properly, there are many locations that have trained certified child passenger safety technicians to check. You can contact your local fire departments, AAA, hospital, and sheriff’s office. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a location near you that checks car seat installation.
5 thoughts on “Rear Facing Until 2 years old: NEW Car Seat Guidelines from American Academy of Pediatrics”
Here is a gallery of kids sitting rear facing in their car seats at age 2 and older. http://babyproducts.about.com/od/carseats/ig/Extended-Rear-Facing-Car-Seat/
I understand your concern, John. However, car seat manufacturers have taken that into consideration with the new designs that allow for extra leg room. If you check out various car seats, they are set up for different height for kids for this very reason. I understand that they cannot leg their legs hang down over the seat like we adults, however kids don’t typically like that. My kids are always pulling their legs up to sitting “criss cross applesauce”, put their foot under their opposite leg, etc in the car, on the couch or at the dining room table. The bottom line is that kids will adjust and rear facing is the safest option for kids under 2.
Wonder if the American Academy of Pediatrics knows how big a 2 year old child measures. Would be nice if they will provide photos showing 2 year old children of various height and weigh sitting in a rear facing seat.
Veronica, you can buy a convertible car seat that can face either backwards or forward like the Safety 1st product above.
interesting. This also means I need to get a rear facing car seat once our baby outgrows his infant carrier.