AAP: Children Should Remain in Rear Facing Car Seats Until 2

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommended today that toddlers should ride in rear-facing car seats until age 2-a full year longer than the previous 1-year guideline.  After 2, children should sit in booster seats until they are past 4’ 9”–usually around age 12–and children younger than 13 should always sit in the back seat, the two groups said.

The change was based on U.S. crash data from the past five years, which found that 1-year-olds are five times less likely to be injured in a crash if they are in a rear-facing car seat than if they are in a forward-facing seat.  Children younger than 2 have relatively large heads and small necks, and in a front-facing car seat the force of a crash can jerk the child’s head, causing spinal cord injuries, MSNBC reports.

Had the new guidelines been in place over the past 15 years, as many as 1,000 children may have escaped injury in car crashes, according to MSNBC.

Parents of children in the 8-12 range are no doubt wondering how they will possible convince their kids to sit in boosted seats for even more time than they’d expected to.

Will you be putting your tween in a booster seat?

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  1. by K.H.

    On March 21, 2011 at 11:44 am

    It just makes sense: even adults would be safer rear-facing. My son was rear-facing until his 4th birthday.

  2. by tracy

    On March 21, 2011 at 11:52 am

    There is No way my 11 year old daughter, who is over 100 pounds and is almost as tall as me (i’m 5’2)would sit in a booster. As for my son, he was 33in at one and in the 97 % for height. Rear facing meant he had to bend his legs.. Forget it. BUT I can see if your child is small. I know a 11 year old that only weighs 61 pounds and is very tiny. I could see for her safety how a booster seat would be needed. Guess they just need to cover all the bases. But I would hate to get a ticket.:(

  3. by Brooke W.

    On March 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    While understandable, and I know it’s safe — there’s no way! My child’s rear-facing car seat was too small for her a few months before her first birthday. She was getting a front-facing car seat for her birthday, and I just couldn’t afford a new, bigger rear-facing one (it was hard to find one affordable in my area).

    Now, I could not go back. My daughter has to be able to look forward or else she gets car sick, and I know she’d fight me over it. It’s great for those who begin it that way, but for those of us who went with what we were told before — well, we just have to hope for the best and try to be as safe on the road as possible.

  4. by A Foster

    On March 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    My 20 month old is still rear facing in his infant seat, and I planne don keeping him rear facing as long as possable. Watching the crach tests compairing two made me want to put my 7 and 8 year old rear facing (tho not possable)

  5. by Nichole

    On March 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Where would one find a rear facing carseat for larger children??? My son is only four months and already does not fit into his car seat. I am looking for a new one but am unsure where to find one and which one would be good…. could someone help me please??

  6. by Kathren

    On March 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I agree with Tracy & Brooke, my son and daughter are in the 85-90% for height and had to bend their legs just to be able to make it to the one yr marker. But for smaller (shorter) children it would be fine. I’m not torturing my children by making them scrunch up in their car seats just so they can be rear facing. Now the booster seat part was already 4’9″ so no change there. Actually, my daughter is 10 months now and is already having to bend her legs up and my son is 3 yrs. he’s already exceeded the height requirements for his forward facing seat and we’re going to be moving him to a booster. Because we just can’t afford an expensive car seat with larger height and weight requirements.

  7. by Jenny Kelly

    On March 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    My 18 mo old was out of her rear facing at 1yr old she was to long to face that way any longer her legs were getting all bent up if i had got in a accident both of her legs probably would have got broken!!!

  8. by Julia

    On March 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Perhaps car manufacturers should just go ahead and make the back seat rear-facing!

  9. by Alsha

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    After being in a recent car accident, and it was only another car rear-ending ours, I fully support children being rear-facing until age 2. My daughter is on the smaller side, so I understand that it is easier for me given her size. However, my neck was sore after only being rear-ended, so I would hate to imagine how her neck/spine/head would have felt afterwards, and it was the day before she turned one year.

    @Nichole – As for larger car seats, I would simply check to see what convertible car seats are advertised with a larger weight limit or larger dimensions. You can tell by looking in stores whether the inside really appears wider.

  10. by Jenn

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    This does not mean that the child has to stay in the infant seat. You all do realize that most of your front facing car seats also work as rear facing? Just check your manual or even look at the stickers on your car seat. I have 3 car seats that can be either front or rear facing. The smartest thing to do for the value is to purchase a seat that is convertible, going from rear facing to front facing to a high back booster.

  11. by Suzie

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    But what about their legs? My kids are 12 & 9 but back then one of the suggestions was when their feet reached the back of the seat.

  12. by rydersmommy

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    There is no way my son is going to be rear facing until he is 2! My son now is 9.5months 32inches and 23.5lbs! He is already way too big for his current rear facing carseat..his legs are bunched. I am planning on getting a front facing within the next few weeks.

  13. by roarkes_chick

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I agree it all depends on the child my oldest was born 24 1/2 tall. I had to change him over at 9 or 10 months to a front faceing because even the bigger carseat his feet were in his chest. How is that safe? He is now 9 and is over 5 foot I am not putting him in a booster seat if I did, I guess I would need to go back in one to. As for my DD she is shorter and will stay in her booster until time. Also my youngest is the same as his brother he is tall, he is almost 6 months and almost as tall as his 34 month old sis. So I dont see keeping him very long rear facing.

  14. by Julie

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Personally, my son, although he’s small, at 17 months is very strong. Stronger than any 2 year old I know and where he is already in a front facing seat I’ll keep him in it. I could afford to buy another car seat to make him rear facing (how you people can’t is beyond me, it’s the safety of your child how can you NOT afford it, don’t have children if you can’t afford to keep them SAFE) but I feel that he is developed enough that if we were in a crash, it wouldn’t make a difference. I’m expecting another child in October and I’ll be purchasing a seat that will keep him or her rear facing for 2 years no matter the cost. Safety is much more important to me than anything else and expensive sure, but I’ll figure out a way to make it work.

  15. by Karoline

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    To those saying their infants don’t “fit” rear facing, legs bent doesn’t mean they don’t fit. Broken legs would be better than a broken neck. They aren’t as uncomfortable as you may think and the safety and life of your child is more important than whether you feel they have leg room or if they dont feel cool bc they are in a booster. Live child beats a dead one. When they fight you can tell them it’s not cool to get tickets or be dead and that you are the parent. Can’t believe people are complaining about something that could save their child’s life or stop spinal cord injuries. (shaking my head)

  16. by jessica

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    i would like direct links to children that were injured in forward facing car seats because they were forward facing before the age of two and after the age of one. their car seats have to be installed correctly and they have to be buckled in. i want at least 100 if not more. i also want some real statics showing this to be a fact. as in this many children has this injury due to being forward facing before the age of two and after the age of one compared to children rear facing after the age of one till the age of two in the united states. i want real facts not percents that don’t really compare and don’t really convey what this means. i won’t believe it until i see it. most parents CANNOT afford rear facing car seats with the higher weight limits in them. most kids are over the weight limit / height limit before the age of two on the cheaper car seats. so are everyone that can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a new car seat going to get one for free?

    i don’t agree with this at all. we are not talking about little babies. we are talking about toddlers that need interaction and can get car sick. we are talking about smooshed legs that are cramped and hurting and falling asleep… if it really is beneficial then great, but so far you haven’t given me any real information and real statics.

  17. by beckysue27

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Would you rather a few scrunched up legs or a decapitated child? My guy is staying rear facing as long as possible. They haven’t found many leg injuries in crashes, besides leg injuries are usually not life threatening. The issue here is that their heads and necks are thrust forward with such force in crashes that they are internally decpitated in a crash. I would never forgive myself if that happened to my son just because I thought his legs looked uncomfortable, or it was more convenient for me to have him forward facing…or he “just wouldnt have it”. None of these things would make me feel better if he died.
    Watch the videos on this on youtube– kids adjust easily to sitting Indian style as they grow rear facing…
    When he outgrew the infant seat a few months a go we put him in a convertible car seat (Britax Marathon 70) rear facing. He is just fine like that!!

  18. by Sherell

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I dont agree my son just turned one and his legs are way to long to sit rear facing carseat…but i like the idea just turn the back seat around…

  19. by Angela Wyatt

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I think this is great! Last year I bought the (GRACO) My Ride 65 for my newborn and currently my 5 year old is sitting in, I feel so much better with her in a 5 pt. harness still. Those flimsy booster seats, all be it high back just don’t seem like enough cushion for a crash for my little Princess! She doesn’t know any different so she doesn’t complain, which is how it should be for all kids, when her 3 month old sister is a year old I will move her 2 the high back which means she’ll b almost 7, but when it comes 2 safety age is nothing. A family member lost their petite 16 yr. old in a vehicle crash, she was smaller than her friends & the only 1 ejected from the car & killed on impact so if these new guidelines means my girls sit on booster seats till they are 12 to make the seat belts more reliable so be it! Complaining & worrying about how silly they may or may not look is not worth loosing them & that’s how ALL parents should be looking @ these new laws… it’s for our child’s safety!

  20. by Jessica

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    My DD is rear-facing at the age of 3. She was rear-facing until 2.5 and then forward facing until this month.
    I am laughing at all the excuses people are giving in these comments. Your child’s safety to be of the highest importance. There is no way that a 9 month old is uncomfortable rear-facing. No way.

    Maybe you should google “Joel’s Journey” and then make excuses.

  21. by RB

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    For those who asked where you got a larger rear facing car seat. There are lots of rear facing car seats that are fo larger children. My daughter has a Graco MyRide 65 for her regualar seat, it goes up to 40lbs rear and 65 front. She has an Evenflo Tribute in our second car that goes up to 30 rear and 40 front. The Graco was expensive, but the Tribute was only $40. You jsut have to look around and online to find one. She just turned a year old, but only weighs about 16.5 pounds and is 30 inches tall, so I have to keep her rear facing for longer.

  22. by Naomi Midkiff

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    You guys make me sick. There is nothing wrong with folded legs. Better to break a leg then a neck! Spinal cord damage can be fatal or cause life long irreversible consequences such as paralysis. Is that what you want for your kids? Almost all convertable car seats on the market today go to 35-40lbs rear facing. Just because your child outgrows the infant seat doesn’t mean they have to turn forward facing.

  23. by Jen

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    It’s not a new law though…it’s just a recommendation, right?

  24. by SB

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    How can children bee comfortably seated rear facing, when their legs are obviously scrunched up against the seat… I dont understand how some of you women are saying… my child is almost four and he’s still rear facing…. where are their legs??????????

  25. by Kris

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    What is this nonsense no can afford or find a rear facing carseat? As far as I’m concerned, I’ve never come across a convertible carseat that doesnt face the front & the rear! The most commons convertible carseat on the market is a Graco MyRide 65, and that faces both ways!! Once your child reaches the 40lb rear facing weight limit, that no 2yr old is going to surpass, you turn the child around!! Not very hard!! Granted this is a recommendation not the law so do as you please at your own risk…. But don’t say you can’t find/afford a rear facing carseat!! There are plenty on the market for about $100… And Babies R Us always has ‘trade in’ deals going on.. Trade in your used carseat ( or any used baby ‘gear’)& get 25% off a new carseat( baby gear)!!

  26. by Jessica

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm


    Google extended rear-facing and look at the pictures.

  27. by jessica

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    yeah but how many kids has this happened to them in reality? and what are the real chances of this happening? so far i haven’t read anything that states those facts. as in, this many people get in this type of car crash (it is only one type of car crash that does it) that creates this injury with a child forward facing after the age of one in a car seat correctly installed. compared to this many people in this type of crash with a child rear facing after the age of two and how many children that were injured. i have not seen any comparison that shows that this is how many children were injured before the laws came into affect verses after the law came into effect and how much the injury rates have gone down since then. i have not seen any statics that shows how many people even get in this crash! so far you only say we should do this because… with no real facts to back it up! i have five kids. all of them were forward facing at the age of one. we survived. i am not saying that with ignorance as in well it worked for me so it must me okay! what i am saying is that unless if have solid facts, i won’t believe it. i cannot imagine rear facing my 42 lbs 3 year old! sometimes i think we take things too far. kids do not live in bubbles. we take risks every day. walking outside is a huge risk. riding our bike is a risk. walking down the steps is a risk. swinging on a swing is a risk. there are a million risks we take. statistically we can get very hurt doing those things and/or die. if research can show me that forward facing risk statically is higher then letting my daughter walk down the stairs alone, the i will go for it. but until the percents are higher with the benefits, I will take my chances.

  28. by Toni

    On March 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    We purchased a convertible car seat. It was only $89 brand new. It can be rear or forward facing and fits up to 100 pounds. My son is 30 inches long and 1 year old. He fits in the car seat rear-facing just fine. My 8 year old, loves sitting in the booster seat. He can see more out the window. He is 54 inches.

  29. by Annette

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    ok, I would like to respond to that lady who said her child was rear facing until age 4???!!! What the heck? And where did he put his legs? I agree with the lady who posted that the car manufacturers should make the back seats rear facing if they are gonna require this!! That would actually give the babies some leg room!! LOL And this is absolutely ridiculous….really? The article states that in the last 15 years, it MAY have saved 1000 INJURIES…..NOT DEATHS….but injuries!! Really? That doesn’t even seem worthy of a law change!!! And how do we know there would not still be injuries, especially with the babies legs all scrunched up from no leg room!! UTTERLY RIDICULOUS!!

  30. by Jessica

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Obviously, you guys aren’t doing any research because the facts to back this research up are all over the internet.

    Or is it that you can’t read?

  31. by jessica

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Annette: i agree with you completely!! next everyone will be complaining about breaking legs… so it will change to a new thing… ugh, i haven’t read one article where decapitation actually happened to a child or of any children actually dying of this injury directly due to being forward facing after a year… until i read a 100 articles on this where it actually happened solely because a child was forward facing after the age of one and was put in their car seat correctly and the car seat was installed correctly… i will start to believe it! i also want to know what the 1,000 injuries were… EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. and i want to know how they were exactly related to them being forward facing after the age of one. then i will believe it.

    as for the one that said how can you not find car seats that fit your child rear facing? um my daughter was 40 lbs before the age of two. i have a friend whose child is 35 lbs at 18 months! it is possible to outgrow rear facing car seats!

  32. by abby

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    my 6 year old is already 4 ft 3 inches. Makes me nervous to take her soon out at such a young age but the seat belt doesn’t fit across her right in the booster seat. It is only for their safety.

  33. by Jessica

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm

  34. by Jessica

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm

  35. by Lori

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    We just turned our daughter around and she’s 3 1/2. She has a Britax Marathon and did just fine rear facing. She just hit 35 pounds. It’s not hard.

  36. by beth

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    My son is 14 months and wasn’t over 20 pounds until three weeks ago, when we switched him to face forward. He has been in a convertible car-seat rear-facing since 9 months because he outgrew the carrier seat length-wise at that point. Even in the convertible seat, his legs were scrunched rear-facing as he has long legs. I can’t imagine how scrunched he would be if we kept him rear-facing until age two!

  37. by New Car Seat Guidelines: More Details | GoodyBlog

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    [...] the American Aacemy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines on car seat safety and positioning. In light of the announcement, GoodyBlog asked Mitch Lipka, an expert in child [...]

  38. by Melinda

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    To those who are wondering where to find larger rear-facing carseat for bigger/older babies. They are called “convertible” car seats. They are able to rear-face in these seats until 35-40 lbs depending on the seat. Then you turn them around forward facing. Every major store has them, Walmart, Target, Babies R Us, Amazon. One very inexpensive one, but well-reviewed is called Cosco Scenera, it will rear-face to 40 lbs now I believe and is only about $45.

    Hope this helps!

  39. by erika

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    More than likely it’s the type of crash that causes certain injuries. Not the fact that your kid is forward facing or rear facing before a certain age. Just because someone writes an article online, doesn’t mean you all need to run around buying every car seat you can find, just because a few people think it’s best. Use your own judgment. I guess the best thing you all can do, is invest in other types of transportation since it just is not possible for kids to ride in cars safely and be comfortable at the same time.

  40. by Regan

    On March 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I personally find this to be an excellent idea. My daughter, 9 months, has outgrown her infant car seat, so we just transitioned her into the Britax Marathon convertible car seat. It faces the rear now and when she is big enough we will turn her, but until she is, she will remain facing the rear. My husband and I have been in the insurance industry for years and have sadly seen too many fatalities resulting from failure to use a car seat properly. Safety first!

  41. by Kaely

    On March 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Rear-facing as long as possible. Go watch the crash-test videos and you’ll understand why. As to the “where do their legs go?” question. It’s simple, they fold them. Even my six year old (who is in a front facing 5-point harness carseat) sits with his legs folded up in his carseat half the time. Dangling legs aren’t really comfortable. Kids are bendy, crossed legs is really a normal thing for them.

    I don’t understand the rush to turn the around.

  42. by Alisha

    On March 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I find it interesting that everyone would like to see more pictures and more statistics to support recommendations where your children’s lives are trying to be saved. I would not wish any injury on a child, but if you are not careful, while you try to make your kids more “comfortable”, you might end up with a child in one of these statistics. It doesn’t make you think twice about your “comfortable” decision hearing that your child’s head can be ripped from their spine at the force of a crash? Instead of considering YOUR preference of comfort for your child, perhaps consider the way they (and you) value their LIFE.

  43. by Amy

    On March 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I will not be making my daughter who is already to tall who just turned one to rear face for another year. I would like to ask all of you to go and sit rear facing with your knees to your chest and see how comfortable that is for you for a length of time. I am turning my daughters seat around, and there is NO WAY any tween is going to sit in a booster seat. that is so dumb.

    I understand what they are “trying” to say. But they can’t judge one child who is short to another who has really long legs who can’t sit rear facing any longer.

    It’s up to THE PARENT and the ones turning the car seats around (front facing) are not bad moms. As a mother you have to decide what is best for YOUR child. And NOT every child is the same height or situation.

  44. by Terri

    On March 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I think this is a good idea for smaller children. Both my children are taller and both had issues with rear facing car seats and cried everytime they were in them…but they were in them until they were one year old. I also agree with the parents that ask if they are going to make the car seats thtat are for bigger weights more affordable, in the time of economic hardship alot of parents cannot afford a hundred dollar car seat so that they can have the higher weight limits. I think the AAP needs to help parents out. I am just glad I am done having children and I won’t have to worry about the restrictions for backward. I am more worried about them in a booster seat since my seven year old doesnt like his booster now because he is so tall. And I definately cannot see telling my ten year old niece who is a bigger girl that she will have to start sitting in a booster seat. My husband who is a cop even finds these new reccommendations funny!

  45. by Laura

    On March 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    My son is 2 and a half and I still put him in a rearfacing car seat. they can be rearfacing until 35 lbs according to his carseat. He is developmentally slow and is unable to sit on his own so he is not safe to sit forward facing. He is small for his age but has plenty of room for his legs. And really when it comes down to it I would rather him be safe then comfortable but he doesn’t complain he knows no different.

  46. by Courtney

    On March 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I am actually really shocked that so many mothers are actually so p* off at this recommendation. No one is forcing you to do anything. They are merely suggesting that if you are concerned about your child’s safety, there is reason to be concerned. The average child (*note that I said average – maybe your child is above average) is not large or strong enough to sustain an impact forward-facing. This recommendation is until age 2; let’s face it – most of our children were just learning how to confidently walk at age 1 and were still not completely balanced. You expect them to be able to safely handle an impact of a head-on collision like an adult?

    I was in an accident last fall, luckily without my two daughters. We were just starting to accelerate after a traffic stop and therefore going under 30 mph. I am STILL being treated for my whiplash! The firemen pointed out to me that in the backseat, my 4-year old’s high-back booster seat had flown into the seat in front. I immediately switched back to the latch and 5-point harness system as my 3-year old’s convertible seat had not budged. However, the head would have still moved and what they are saying is that even an 18-month old’s body is not mature enough for that type of force.

    To those proudly raving that they’ve been a mother of so many children for so many years and have not had their children injured in an accident, it’s probably because you’ve been lucky enough to escape an accident. That is awesome! However, many of our parents could also say that they lucked out when people did not use car seats at all. Are you saying that the recommendation to use car seats at all is ridiculous since they did not have injuries back in the 70s and 80s?

    To those struggling with injury vs death like this lady, “The article states that in the last 15 years, it MAY have saved 1000 INJURIES…..NOT DEATHS….but injuries!! Really? That doesn’t even seem worthy of a law change!!!” May I remind you that if someone suffers a spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis or severe brain trauma changing a life in numerous ways, guess what – they are injured, but still alive. So those 1000 injuries are no scraped knee. (and again, it’s not a law – it’s a recommendation)

    To those so worried about bent legs; really not that big of a deal! Although, maybe I’m the only crazy parent with children who actually like to pull their legs up and sit cross-legged in a car seat rather than dangle! Heck I’m 5’9″ and I still pull my feet up from time to time while traveling!

    Now, I must confess that I did not keep my daughters rear-facing until 2, but that was not the recommendation at that time. I am however keeping them in a 5-point as long as possible and then a booster until they reach 4’9″ and 100 lbs, whether they are 8, 10, or 12. I respect your right to make your own decision, but please do not post ridiculous statements possibly causing a new parent to doubt their instinct to follow the recommendations of experts.

  47. by anonymous

    On March 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    For all of you complaining about how annoying or expensive it will be to adhere to the new safety recommendations – WOULD YOU PREFER YOUR CHILD TO BE INJURED OR TO DIE? Thankfully they changed the regulations and continue to research ways to keep children safe in automobiles. Think about the safety of your child and quit being so selfish.

  48. by Erin

    On March 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    You know, it really amazes me how we all survived to adulthood! I personally know of several children who have been in accidents and weren’t rear facing and not injured, but know of none who were injured or died bc they were not. Here in our local town there was a child who died and was rear facing. It is the type of crash, not whether or not the child is rear facing. It’s just like seat belts. Yes, they help save lives but they are not miracle workers. In serious crashes people can still die even with their seatbelt on.

    Both of my children turned front facing the day they turned a year old. Some children hate the car seat and are much happier when turned front facing. Isn’t a child screaming in the back seat a major distraction that could be avoided by turning them front.? I myself was out of a car seat by the time I was 3 and guess what? I ‘m still alive!

  49. by Elizabeth

    On March 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I think this would work if everyone drove suburbans. I have a 09 camry and we have a convertible car seat for my 18 month old daughter. When it was rear facing the driver seat had to be pushed all the way forward and we had to place blankets under it, even with it all the way reclined, or her head would have fallen forward and cut off her air way. I agree if you have small children or a large vehicle this is the best option. My 3 1/2 year old son is still in his high back booster using the chest straps. Convertible car seats are the best investment when purchasing car seats.

  50. by brian

    On March 22, 2011 at 12:10 am

    @jessica, the new guidelines are specific for highspeed front end collisons. The link you posted about the decapitated child was from a side impact collision, therefore doesn’t apply to this discussion. You seem to be arguing that front-facing car seats are safe enough, then posting links showing that car seats aren’t safe. What’s your point? I agree that the AAP guidelines are often very cautious and a bit overprotective. But you are commenting based on having 5 kids who have survived in your own vehicle. Congratulations. As a pediatrician and a trauma doctor, I’ll tell you that I have seen far more dead or paralyzed kids than you have. Your comparison of high-speed front-end motor vehicle collisions to riding bikes and walking down steps is silly to say the least. Come spend some time in the trauma ward of your local pediatric ER and you’ll see all the statistics you need. Or don’t. I’ll see you in the ER eventually after some drunken idiot behind the wheel makes a believer out of you. As for my kids, they ride rear-facing.

  51. by blah

    On March 22, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Go save some lives then, brian.

  52. by kirsten

    On March 22, 2011 at 6:46 am

    this is so redic. next they will be suggesting that adults sit in booster seats !

  53. by Dianna

    On March 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

    We have three children 7 1/2, 6, and 7 mos. We drive a small Ford contour (4 dr). My 7 mo old is 28″ and in the 90% for height. We just moved him up to a convertable car seat, which we can not put it rear facing in this car because my Husband is 6’3″ and there is no way we can move the seats forward any further! My 7 1/2 year old is 73 lbs and 4’4″. IT’s a very tight fit trying to get a convertable seat along with two boosters in the back seat of smaller cars, (mind you, with gas prices gong up again, it’s not that easy to get something bigger)! We also have a 98 GMC Safari van. The convertable seat for the baby fits great but If my son keeps growing taller so fast, I won’t be able to keep him rear facing till 2yrs! Also, for my older two to stay in the booster till 12 yrs, in a 98 van, their shoulders, neck and head would be way over the back of the seat and would be injured worse! My 6 year old is small so he will be in the booster for a few more years, but My 7 1/2 year old won’t be much longer (because of height of the seats in the van!) What about people who work and have family members pick the children up, or babysit, it’s a pain to remember to leave the boosters AT SCHOOL, or what, have to BUY one for every car!?

  54. by Dianna

    On March 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

    What about on the school bus!? I don’t understand how our children have to use a booster till 12 in our personal cars/suv/vans, but yet my son at the age of 4, and only 34 lbs, was able to ride the school bus and not even have to be buckled!!! (this was last year for PRE-K!) How soes that make any since!!!???

  55. by Concerned Mama

    On March 22, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I will try to answer many questions in one post. First, even states with no specific car seat laws have laws in place to follow manufacturers guidelines. The minimum is 1 year and 20 pounds. My daughter was 20 pounds at 5 months and is still rear facing at 16 months and will be until the limits of the seat. An infant carrier is only one type of rear facing seat. A convertible offers much more room and can be installed up to a 30 degree angle often giving the front seat passengers more room than with an infant bucket seat. There are rear facing seats available to fit any child from a 4 pound preemie to a 45 pound 5 year old. There is no way a 2 year old could have outgrown every convertible seat on the market unless they have disabilities. There has never been a case of broken legs in an accident with a rear facing child but there have been plenty of reports of broken necks and internal DECAPITATION in forward facing children in similar accidents. A broken leg= cast it, a broken neck= casket. Even the seats that rear face until 45 pounds or the seat that is the tallest rear facing in the US can be purchased for under $250. If you are on a tight budget, you can get a seat that fits children rearfacing until 40 pounds at Target for $50. For the parents complaining about moving a booster, you can pick up a booster with one hand to move it car to car or a second booster can be bought for under $30. As far as school buses go, the high, straight back, padded seats create an egg crate affect and would cocoon around a child in an accident.
    I want to state, my toddler who is off the charts for both height and weight is still rear facing in a subcompact car and will be for quite a while.
    Sorry to jump between topics, trying to type this all up over nap time!

  56. by New Car Seat Guidelines: Your Reactions | GoodyBlog

    On March 22, 2011 at 11:40 am

    [...] news about new recommendations for car seat safety and positioning sparked quite a vehement debate among our readers and Facebook followers. The new recommendations, [...]

  57. by Kristina

    On March 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    You are able to turn the bigger car seat around to be a rear facing one. wen my kids were born they grew out there child seat within a month or two…so i got a bigger car seat not booster saet and I was able to make that into a rear facing car seat its a little harder considering you have to put it behnd a front seat and its bigger then the infant car seat but it does work…i had local fire and police station make sure it was in there correctly…

  58. by Kristina

    On March 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    @Dianna..I totally agree with you..My youngest to go tohead start and they have a bus that provides seat buckle harnesses and booster or car seats for those needed… but as for my 2nd grader he is on the smaller side about 45-40 lbs and he does not need a seat buckle on the bus either..however they are provided i think that they need to inforce that they be used because children are alwasy standing up on the bus..and the bus driver does not notice all of them on such a big bus.

  59. by Michelle

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Just one question for everyone: Everything that I have read talks about injuries due to being hit from the rear of the car with the child facing forward….What happens to a child facing the rear when the car gets hit from the front? Or does noone get hit from the front anymore? I am a mother of a 9 yr old who sits in a booster, and a 4 and 2 yr old who still ride in forward facing car seats. If something is going to happen it’s going to happen regardless of which direction your child is facing. All we can do is make sure the seatbelt is tight, the child is comfortable but not loose in the 5 pt harness and drive a best as we can and pray that the other drivers are paying as much attention as we are.

  60. by JJ

    On March 26, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    I’m expecting my second child, my first is already 12 and out of a booster seat and all that. I don’t know that I like the idea of having a toddler rear facing until the age of 2, but I would do it for as long as it would be comfortable and possible for the baby.

    My only gripe with the comments on here is the snobby moms that make statements like “why did you have kids if you can’t AFFORD to keep them SAFE?” Twice now, I have been prepared to take care of my child at infancy, but I don’t know what the future will bring in an economy like this – so yes, there will be things that I can’t afford to do for my kids. One of those things might be to buy a new car seat that is outside of my budget. It doesn’t make anyone a bad parent to be struggling these days, and they aren’t less safety minded just because they don’t have the top of the line car seats and giant SUVs to put them in. I’m just saying…. lay off and don’t make people feel bad!

  61. [...] AAP: Children Should Remain in Rear Facing Car Seats Until 2. This entry was written on March 26th, 2011 by Tammy Land and filed under Parent Resources. Tags: car seats, child safety RSS 2.0 | Trackback. [...]

  62. by Lindsay

    On March 27, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I know that many out there are concerned that the kiddos’ legs are cramped when rear facing… Thinking outside the box, has there been any thoughts/studies on whether or not you could just turn the whole chair around (obviously would only work in SUV/Vans)? meaning, put the carseat ‘forward facing’… but then turn the whole chair towards the back of the vehicle? this obviously would take some reengineering of the car manufacturers, but could be a potential solution to this problem that I face (and I am sure others) regarding keeping our children as safe as possible, but also let them have some comfort (esp on the long road trips to grandmas)!…… or another idea, what if the seat backs were able to be removed (and still keep the kids rear-facing)? I am not an engineer, but could be something the researchers/car manufacturers could explore to see if without the back of the car seat (or just removal from the top of the car seat base), that the rear facing child seats would still have the same security/safety…

  63. by nicole

    On March 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    There is no way my child will ride facing backwards untill he is two. People get to caught up in listening to what other people think is right when truly you as the parent know best. The numbers are just statistics and are always changing one day this is right and the next day its wrong i say take in the informatin and decide for yourself who is someone else to tell me whats right for my kid!

  64. by MirNRob

    On March 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    They make good, convertible car seats that rear face for longer. My daughter is in a Sunshine Kids and can rear face up to 45lbs. She is 18 months old and still rear facing. Further more, at her 15 month check up she was 34 inches tall (!!!) making her the 98% at the time and she’s still growing and still rear faces comfortably. We were in a car accident in December. I was injured and she was not, and I believe rear facing was to thank for that. The fact is, when you are in a car accident, your body is flung forward, putting a lot of pressure and potential for injury on your spine. By being rear facing, the child is pushed back into their seat, which absorbs the shock of the accident, protecting their head, neck, and spine. I don’t see why it’s a big deal to leave them rear facing another year.

  65. by Melissa

    On March 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I turned my slightly above average sized son forward facing at one year. He never seemed to like it. He was in a Britax Roundabout which is an average sized convertible car seat. His feet dangled, it made him sit really upright, he’d drop things in the floor and couldn’t reach them.. it really wasn’t fun.

    I started researching extended rear facing around 16 months even though I knew it would mean buying a new car seat (at this point he was already close to 30 lbs)

    I knew in my heart he would be safer rear facing, and then this new recommendation came out and I was sure of what I needed to do. I already knew which seat I wanted to get, so I went right out and bought him a Graco My Ride 65 and installed it rear facing. He is 18 months now and LOVES it.. he reclines more, he doesn’t drop things into the floor, he can kick the back seat, can prop his feet up or cross them.. He throws his arms over his head and goes right to sleep on long trips.

    This seat was relatively inexpensive (about 129 at WalMart and Target) and will hold a child rear facing to 40 pounds and forward facing to 65.

    I really think parents make a bigger deal out of this than kids do.. he hasn’t fussed about it at all and he was forward facing for almost 6 months!

    It’s so much safer, I can’t see why anyone would not want to try to do this for their kids.

  66. by Di

    On April 7, 2011 at 6:54 am

    How does that work? I had to turn my daughter’s seat forward before her first birthday because her feet were halfway up the back seat! That can’t be safe either!
    I just want to know how they’re supposed to fit!

  67. by Amy

    On April 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I bet everyone using the excuse that a convertible seat is too expensive has no issue buying the coolest $200 Christmas present.
    Would it be uncomfortable for me, a 32 year-old-woman, to sit backwards? probably. Was it uncomfortable for my 2-year-old? No, he loved it. He prefers to sit criss-cross-style. He found it comfortable enough to sleep in when he was tired. Did he sometimes kick the seat back? Yes! Did I care? No!
    Everyone can do what they feel is best. It’s your choice. I choose to go the safer route. But, hey, do what ever you want with your kid.

  68. by by Jeri

    On April 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I don’t know the people who do these recommendations and if they do their homework and look at kids nowadays, but most kids have a hard time staying in the reverse position to age 1, let alone to age 2 because they are to tall for those reverse seats. No preteen is going to sit in a booster seat either. These people need to get real about this subject, the kids that are being killed in car accidents isn’t because of the booster seats or rear facing seats it is because parents are not able to get the kids to stay buckeled up in those seats.

  69. by apola

    On April 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Here in Europe we have different car seats for children. To me they look more confortable for older children.
    We still use the child car seat with the back and the belts of the child car seat even though we could use it with the normal seat belt or even only use a seat rise and the seat belt from the car.
    I can’t understand parents that don’t never use special car seats for their children.

  70. by Sarah M

    On May 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    This is incorrectly quoting the AAP guidelines. They do NOT recommend going straight to a booster at age 2. If you read the entire article, it says they should transition to a harnessed seat and then when they outgrow that, they go to a booster. Please get this straight as you have people putting their 2 yr olds in boosters already!!!

  71. by April K

    On August 15, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Yes, rear-facing is technically safer for your child if you get into a serious forward crash. But having my child rear-facing and relying on mirrors to see him or reaching so far around to hand him toys is very distracting to me when I’m driving and keeps my eyes off the road for longer periods of time. When he’s forward-facing, it’s much easier to keep an eye on him while keeping my eyes on the road. Driving distracted increases my odds of getting into a serious accident, so if forward-facing my child at 1 year makes me a safer driver, then that’s what I do.

    Really, I think people are putting too much emphasis on rear-facing when the statistics clearly show that the majority of injuries to children occur because they’re improperly restrained. You can keep your child rear-facing until age 4, but if the seat is too small or improperly anchored, it won’t keep her safe in an accident.

  72. by Wendy

    On August 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Seats that accommodate kids to at least 40 pounds rear facing are found at Target, Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, and very likely Walmart as well. They’re not difficult to find. Nor are they expensive. You can get one for $40 at Target (Cosco Scenera 40 RF, at Target). Or other favorites of mine for $120-$140 (Graco My Ride, Evenflo Triumph 65). There’s no need to spend $300 to get a seat to rear face longer.

  73. by Susie

    On August 22, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Why are you telling people to put their 2 year olds in boosters?! RF for as long as possible is SAFEST!!! Kids between ages 4 and 8 (depending on the child’s stats) can be in a booster, But NEVER under 4. It is NOT SAFE for a child under 4 to be in a booster. You need to do some real research before publishing an article people will take as fact.

    Also anyone wanting more info on car seat safety come join us at “car seats for the littles” on Facebook. There are car seat techs and many women who are VERY informed and would love to help make sure your little one is as safe as possible. :)

  74. by BeeSue

    On August 22, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    You need to rework this article. It’s innacurate. They recommend rear-facing until two, but after that they do NOT recommend a booster! A child would move into a five point harness forward facing car seat. Then a booster seat with a seat belt. A two year old or even a three year old in a seat belt is silly! They would not be safe in a crash or could just wiggle out or unclick it!

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  77. by Linda

    On December 21, 2011 at 6:02 am

    That booster seat thing isn’t going to fly. My daughter was taller than me by age 11, and my son was taller than me by 10. I can see back seat, like now, but this is over the top.

  78. by Cortoney

    On December 23, 2011 at 4:11 am

    If kids had to be in a booster til 4’9″, I’d still be in one as a 21 year old adult. =\

  79. by Jess

    On March 24, 2012 at 7:08 am

    My daughter is 22 months and still rear facing.
    And she’s in the 90th percentile for height. She
    Bends her legs slightly, but it really doesn’t look that uncomfortable. Plus in a crash, would you rather a broken leg or spinal injuries?

  80. [...] AAP: Children Should Remain in Rear Facing Car Seats Until 2 [...]