How long does your baby need to stay rear facing in a car seat?
Posted Mar 21 2011 1:01am
While the safety data was released a couple of years ago, today the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its previous policy on carseats to say: Kids should stay rear-facing in a carseat in the back seat of the car until TWO years of age. Why? It's safer for a young child's head and neck support to be rear-facing. In fact, there fatality risk in a car accident goes down by 75%!
Here are some of the highlights:
The "rear-facing until two" is a guideline only. Young children who are very small, or born prematurely, may need to stay rear facing longer--until they outgrow the weight and height limits for the rear-facing carseat. And, kids who are big may outgrow the size limitations younger than age two and may need to be turned forward-facing earlier.
Once a child outgrows the size limits of rear-facing, he should be forward-facing in a harness carseat until he outgrows that seat.
You can check your carseat's size limitations on the label or in the instruction manual. In general, convertible carseats are safe for rear-facing until a child weighs 35—45 lbs. Height limitations vary as well.
Kids need to remain in booster seats until at least EIGHT years of age, or when they exceed the size limits for a booster and they are ready for a seat belt.
Kids should not be riding in the front seat of a vehicle until they are at least 13 years old.