It is widely known that all infant seats are to face the rear of the vehicle. It has been proven to be the safest position for newborns and infants to be in due to how their bodies are structured. But just how long should you use a rear facing car seat?
This is quite a hot topic among parents of children of all ages. More and more research is showing that a child is safest when facing the rear of a vehicle. The laws in most states only say that the child should be rear facing for the first year of their life. Since safety is the main concern a parent has for their child, many parents are choosing to rear face even longer.
The current recommendation is to rear face for at least two years or until the child outgrows the rear facing seats. Many car seat manufacturers are producing seats with extended limits in both height and weight. It is very important to not misuse the car seat, or to try to stretch the limits.
One of the main concerns that parents have that causes them to switch to front facing sooner is the comfort of their child. Many children may complain and cry when facing the rear of the vehicle, but they are safest in that position. It is perfectly fine that the legs and feet of the child touch the seat back. This will simply lead to the child almost sitting cross-legged.
In the event of an accident, everyone will agree that it is better to have to treat a broken leg than having to bury a child that died from front facing too soon. The rear facing car seat is designed to absorb the impact and allow the energy to dissipate versus the child having to take the full force of the impact.
There are many seats that will allow a child weighing up to 45 pounds to rear face. These seats have varying height restrictions, so it is important to note them as well. There are extended rear facing seats that can fit into any budget. All seats have to pass the same car seat safety tests, so the decision boils down to parent choice.
One of the main obstacles parents face when attempting to rear face for extended periods of time is the opinions of other people. The older generations did not even really use car seats at all, so why would you want to use them for extended periods? Even parents of this generation are split because what might have been acceptable for your first child is no longer the recommendation with your second and subsequent children.
It is very important to do your own research on the benefits and risks of car seats and the positions in which they are used. There are numerous videos available on the internet that shows the crash test results of the various seats, both front facing and rear facing. The safety of the children should be your main concern as a parent, not what anyone else tells you to do.