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.