Use Rear facing Car Seats as Long as Possible
Infants and babies under one year of age should be secured in a rear facing car seat. The seat should not be turned forward until the child reaches a minimum of one year of age and 20 pounds. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Safe Kids all recommend keeping children facing well into the second year of life or the maximum capability of your car seat. Many car seats now allow use rear facing until 35 or even 40 pounds. Be sure to read the car seat instruction manual and or check labels on the car seat.
There are two-types of rear-facing seats.
- Infant car seats are designed only for rear facing use and will accommodate infants up to 20 or 22 pounds or more be sure to check the instructions for your car seat. The carrying handle should be secured in the down position unless the instructions for the seat state otherwise. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your seat.
- Convertible seats are designed to keep children in a rear facing position until they reach 30 - 40 pounds. They can then be used as front-facing seats. Refer to specific manufacturer’s guidelines for each seat.
Follow these guidelines for rear facing seats:
- Do not let rear-facing car seats recline more than 45°. Many seats have a level indicator.
- Keep harness straps at or below the child’s shoulders.
- Avoid adding products, such as head supports or shoulder pads, to your child’s car seat. Consult a child passenger safety technician for positioning suggestions before attaching such items.
- Do not attach objects such as mirrors or toys to the seat back directly in front of the child safety seat. These items can harm your child during a crash.
To learn more, attend our child safety seat class or have a child safety seat inspection, a FREE service provided by Safe Kids Greater Augusta.