Children Should Ride In Rear-Facing Seats For As Long As Possible

If you have children, you might want to reconsider the way you transport them in your car. Don’t panic, nothing essential has changed, but the new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics are aimed at making car trips safer for children.

Essentially, the main update to the AAP’s recommendations on car safety seats is that parents should choose the type of seat to use judging by their child’s size, not age.

Moreover, the organization recommends children remain in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, “until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.”

Previously, the AAP’s recommendation was that children should remain rear-facing at least until they’re 2-years old. The new guidelines remove the specific age milestone, as they reflect new research on car safety for children.

Also read: Tesla Model S’ Child Trunk Seats Can Get You In Trouble With Cops

When a child uses a rear-facing seat, the head, neck and spine are all supported by the hard shell of the car safety seat, which means that it will absorb most of the crash forces and protect the most vulnerable parts of the body. When children seats are placed in the opposite direction, kids’ heads are thrown forward, increasing the risk of spine and head injuries.

Some parents look forward to going from rear-facing to forward-facing seats, but the AAP says that delaying that transition is the best course of action. Furthermore, “each transition – from rear-facing to forward-facing, from forward-facing to booster seat, and from booster seat to seat belt alone – reduces the protection to the child,” states the press release.

Parents should check car safety seats’ instruction manual and labels to find the manufacturer’s weight and height limits and should transition to the next stage only when a child is approaching one of those limits.

Most safety car seats on the market today allow children to remain rear-facing until they weigh 40 pounds (18.1 kg) or more.

  • Stigasawuswrecks

    My son is 16 and is 5’8″ and 165 lbs. I’m gonna see if it will work for him. He might have to fold himself like a beach chair but safety first I guess.

    • Marty

      I’m interested in what you seats look like. And why.

      • Stigasawuswrecks

        They will recycle the the old butt implants the Kardashians use.

    • Knotmyrealname

      It says ‘up to 40 lbs or more’. Maybe 165 lbs is pushing the joke a bit.


    • Marty

      It’s common sense that makes people put their babies forward facing.
      Use scientific sense instead.

  • scjeff

    I still remember the first time my daughter (she’s 19 now) got to ride forward. I had changed the seat and then on the next drive when we put her in the seat she had a HUGE smile the whole trip.

    • Knotmyrealname

      My son just sat with his mouth open. Sorta thing that’s worth videoing.

  • Big Black Duck

    more articles likes this please

  • D3X

    As a father that has just gotten through this, all the good safety rating Rear facing convertible seats are simply massive for older toddlers ages 3-5. Looking at brands like Clek, Diono, Britax, Harmony which uses as metal chassis. It’s easier said than done, because the footprint of these models simply don’t fit majority of the cars.

    I’ve had Clek and Diono, and it literally takes a large seven seater SUV to fit these rear-facing, and that’s by sacrificing the front passenger seat.

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