New Car Seat Guidelines: More Details

MitchLipkaToday, 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 safety products, to comment on the new guidelines.

Parents eager to flip their car seats from rear-facing to forward facing have some new information to consider that could change their thinking.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now saying toddlers should remain rear-facing until they are 2 years old. For nearly a decade, the group has suggested following the guidance on the seats themselves and keeping them rear facing until a child is 1 year old and 20 pounds at a minimum.

Making the transition from rear-facing to front-facing car seats, from car seat to booster, and from back seat to front seat are among the most discussed topics by parents seeking advice about parenting. While this report from the nation’s most prominent pediatric group isn’t the law, it does carry a lot of clout and is a game-changer in the conversation about car seat safety.

Parent after parent peppered the Parents magazine Facebook page with questions about when they should make the move during last week’s “Experts Day” Facebook event. Some with children as young as 9 months old were ready to transition–many citing the amount of space seats take when they are rear-facing.

In issuing its new recommendations, the AAP cited a 2007 study in the journal “Injury Prevention” that showed children under the age of 2 are 75 percent less likely to suffer a severe injury if they are in a rear-facing seat. The main issue: Support for the neck and spine is better in that position for young children.

The organization’s new policy, published in the April edition of its journal “Pediatrics” also recommends the use of booster seats until children are at least 4 feet 9 inches and between 8 and 12 years old.

“A rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body,” Dr. Dennis Durbin, the report’s author, said in a statement. “For larger children, a forward-facing seat with a harness is safer than a booster, and a belt-positioning booster seat provides better protection than a seat belt alone until the seat belt fits correctly.”

Motor vehicle accidents remain the top cause of death for children 4 and older, the Academy of Pediatrics said, although the death rate has been on a significant decline since the late 1990s. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every hour 150 children (from birth to 19) are taken to a hospital emergency room due to injuries suffered in car accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says its guidelines are consistent with the academy’s recommendations. Both the academy and NHTSA say to use the age as a guideline and not push the use of the seats beyond the height and weight limits.

“The ‘age 2’ recommendation is not a deadline, but rather a guideline to help parents decide when to make the transition,” Durbin said. “Smaller children will benefit from remaining rear-facing longer, while other children may reach the maximum height or weight before 2 years of age.”

Here are some additional guidelines from the academy: 

  • Make the move from a rear-facing seat to one that is forward facing and has a harness when they hit the weight and height limits for the seat.
  • After they hit the limits for the forward facing seat, it will be time to transition to a booster seat. (Be sure that the shoulder belt run across the child’s chest and shoulder and not his or her neck and the lap belt is across the hips rather than the belly area.)
  • The booster seat will no longer be needed once the child reaches 4 feet 9 inches and is 8 or older.
  • After a child turns 13, it is OK to ride in the front seat of the car. Prior to that, they should remain in the rear.
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  1. by Jacqui

    On March 21, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Really? They are basing this on “every hour 150 children (from birth to 19) are taken to a hospital emergency room due to injuries suffered in car accidents.”

    Birth to 19???? How many of these are teens who are driving or riding with a teen driver. How about the statistics for kids birth to two then mabey I’d be less skeptical.

  2. by Debbie

    On March 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    You have missed the point of this.

  3. by Mommy2boys

    On March 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    UHM, yeah it’s proven RF is safer…so why not do it as long as you can….. this right here convinves me
    “The AAP cited a 2007 study in the journal “Injury Prevention” that showed children under the age of 2 are 75 percent less likely to suffer a severe injury if they are in a rear-facing seat.”

    I want to do everything I can (and a RF carseat is easy) to protect my kids from a severe injury.

  4. by KarenG

    On March 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    It should be all about what is best and safest for the children, not what is most convenient for everyone else. Great info, thanks.

  5. by Sarah

    On March 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    As someone who as an adult is not much over the recommended size for a booster sear, I find this a bit ridiculous. I would have been in a booster seat basically til high school… really??? I understand and appreciate the need for child safety, however, that is taking it a bit too far. As far as rear facing seats until they are two years old, this is not qualified with a size, so is this until they are the size of a two year old? Looking at car seats, children with longer legs would have to sit with their knees to their chest as they get older in order to manage that.

  6. by Nola

    On March 21, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    All for keeping the kids as safe as possible in the car. As a concerned grandmther you have convnced me that the best course of action would be to elinate the necessity of placing the baby in the car in the first place. My grandchild can stay home and I’ll do the traveing by car to see him at home. That ought to redue the chances of his being in a car accidet signifcantly.

  7. by Erica

    On March 21, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Yah, Nola, that will solve everything. I hope your grandchild never has to go out of the house….like to the pediatrician’s office.

  8. by KMH

    On March 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    I totally agree with the booster thing! So many parents don’t realize the dangers involved with not using one and not using it properly! You have to use the whole seat belt including the shoulder strap! If not you are taking the risk of your child flying out of the seat and going through the rear window bc nothing is holding them in!

  9. by Samantha

    On March 22, 2011 at 3:34 am

    A lot of milestones got set back with this announcement! Graduation from the rear seat and then from the booster are symbolic for a lot of kids and parents.

    Keep ‘em safe though, that’s my thought. Let them fall down riding their bike…but in a car going 80 miles an hour, let’s keep them as safe as reasonably possible. If that means keeping a booster for a couple years extra, then do it.

  10. by Kara

    On March 22, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I’m really confused…considering the fact that both of my kids legs were already starting to get scrunched up in their rear facing car seats at 10 months old! There is no way they would still be fitting in a rear facer at 1 year…let alone 2! And I would also have to wonder about the impact a car accident would have on their squished little legs?? Buckling into their chest??? Their already packed tight little tummy’s?? What’s more safe really?????

  11. by Kara

    On March 22, 2011 at 7:06 am

    I’m glad it’s a guideline and not the law. Because quite frankly that would be impossible for my kiddos! Dad’s 6’5″ and Mom’s 5’9″! I guess we just don’t fit the mold they a prescribing to…

  12. by Mommy2boys

    On March 22, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Kara- Even with children’s legs scrunched up- what would you rather have in an accident- a broken leg or damage to the spinal column?

    I know it doesn’t “look” that comfortable, but most my friends who have done extended rear-facing say their kids really don’t mind at all.

    I definitely recommend this video-

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

    On March 22, 2011 at 11:42 am

    [...] and positioning sparked quite a vehement debate among our readers and Facebook followers. The new recommendations, issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic  Safety [...]

  14. by Stef

    On March 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I am a mom of 4 children between the ages of 11 and 10 months. When my oldest was a baby it was RF until 1 OR 20 lbs… And at 10 months he went forward facing, he was fine. I think a lot of the problem is with the car seats not being installed correctly. Of course the safety of our children is the most important issue, but every few years they change the guidelines realizing that they were wrong…. So who knows what we are supposed to believe???

  15. by Liz

    On March 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    It’s my child I do what I wish with her. She’ll rear face until 1 by the law guidelines, as she’s going to be way past the 20 pound guideline by then. It’s not only a danger to their legs when they’re rear facing and their legs are so long, it’s a danger to their chest. If you have a child with legs crammed up into their chest, you have to hit your brakes, where will the legs go? Straight into their breastbone or ribs. In a high or even low impact crash, that can result in instant death if the bones break and one pierces a lung. I think I’ll stick to the law, thank you very much. If they make it a law, there better be parents raising a stink. Extended rear facing for long legged children is dangerous, and possibly deadly.

  16. by Jennifer

    On March 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Liz and others who thing RF past 1 is dangerous or ridiculous- do you have facts to back this up? I have never heard of a RF child’s legs breaking and their bones puncturing a lung. Honestly, that sounds pretty far-fetched to me. I have heard of forward facing toddlers that have broken their necks though. Internal decapitation is a real risk when children are forward faced too young. 90% of those who experience internal decapitation die. The AAP and the NHTSA have been researching this topic for a long time. It’s not just something they pulled out of thin air because they felt like annoying parents. It is backed up by years of research and studies. As a test, I tried to find research supporting forward facing at 1 year old being safe and extended RF being dangerous. I couldn’t find anything to back that up. In Sweden, children have been remaining RF in the car until 4 or older for over 30 years. It isn’t the law there, but everyone knows that it is safer. In 2008, 2 children died in car accidents there. During the same time period in the US, 4 children died everyday! Big difference there! Also, why does something have to be a law before people will do it? Smoking is legal in all 50 states, but that doesn’t mean that it is safe. There is abundant proof that smoking causes many health probelms. Just because your state’s law says your child can forward face at 1 and 20 lbs (some say 1 OR 20 lbs), it doesn’t mean that it is the safest choice. There is plenty of evidence that supports RF as long as possible.
    My son easily RF until he was 2 years old. His legs were slightly bent, but it didn’t bother him at all. He was turned RF again for a short time around 3 years old and he didn’t complain about his legs being scrunched then either.
    As for the comments about booster seats and 12 year olds- the guidelines say to keep a child in a booster seat until at least 8 years old and until the seat belt fits the child properly. If your 9 year old is 5 ft tall and 120 lbs, he most likely wouldn’t need a booster. Seat belts are only safe if they fit the child properly. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out that if the shoulder belt is going over your child’s neck or the lap portion is riding up on his stomach, that it isn’t safe.

  17. by Stephanie S

    On March 22, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    My daughter has a growth problem and may not make it to 4’9″, so will she sit in a booster as an adult? Or at 12, does something change???

  18. by Rochelle

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Well said, Jennifer.

  19. by Sheila

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I totally agree with Jennifer !!!! She took the words right out of my mouth. Seriously, a leg bone puncturing a rib?!? Come on, I think it’s more likely a spinal injury would happen before that.

  20. by Kara

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I’ve heard this coming for a while. I figure one day they will pass a law that states they have to sit rear-facing until two years based on the findings. Until then, I will keep my son rear-facing as long as he is willing and as long as it is practical. Thats the best one can do.

  21. by Alisan

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Where are they supposed to put their legs? My daughter kicks my backseat from the MIDDLE of the backseat. There would be no where for her to put her legs. Sorry!

  22. by Lily

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I completely agree with Jennifer. These guidelines shouldn’t be getting so much backlash. Any research that shows something is safer for my children is important to me, and I’m not going to oppose it. My twin girls are small for their age, and I’m not worried about what it will look like to people if they sit in a booster seat until they’re 12 years old. It won’t negatively affect their health, intelligence or overall quality of life in any way. So if you scoff at these “ridiculous” guidelines because it is a change from what you’re used to, you might want to think about what it is that is really bothering you. Remember what’s more important: your feelings or your child’s safety.

  23. by Susan

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Rear facing until two will create a problem with the child’s legs being to long. Most times at one year their legs hang out over the seat. I can see the legs being bent and I can’t imagine that will be safe.

  24. by jenny

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Age seems to really just be an average here. I think the real issue is weight and height! I have a 17 month old that has been forward facing since 14 months. My husband is 6’5″ and I am 5’8″. our daughter was already 26 pounds and 32″ at 15 months. She is built more like a 2 year old. I babysit a little boy who is 13 months, and he is barely 22 pounds. He’s just as long and is cramped rear-facing, but I would fear more for his safety in a forward facing seat than my daughters because they are built so different.

    Until there is a law, it’s really just every parent’s decision what will be best for them. There really is no sense in debating about it. If you want to leave your child rear-facing then do it! That’s wonderful! If you want to leave your child forward-facing, that’s fine too! Just know your child’s body type and make your decision based on that- not their age. Childhood obesity is reaching 1/3 of Americans, so there are going to be a lot of kids that over-exceed the size restrictions for boosters at age 8-12.

    As far as legs being cramped in the rear-facing seat: leg injuries are not even in the top 10 injuries for rear-facing, but are number 2 for forward facing children.

    All of that being said, my husband and I have decided to leave our daughter forward facing. There is no reason to judge any parent for their decision regarding this- As long as each parent makes an informed decision and feels comfortable with that decision.

  25. by Krystal

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Yeah where are their legs suppose to go? I find this unpractical. We have kids riding school buses with no seat belts but nothing has changed with that issue. Now expecting a two year old to still be RF? There is NO way this is going to work.

  26. by Sherri

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I am just wondering how a 36″ toddler is suppose to sit rear facing… Where does he/she put their legs. Do they put them inbetween the car seat and the seat? not so safe if you ask me.

  27. by Sara

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Totally agree with Jennifer 100%!

  28. by Peggy

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I take everything in consideration but every parent knows what’s best for their child and they know what is safest for their child. My son is 18 months 3 ft and 28lbs. And I’m not sure what to do all I want is for my son to be able to travel and be safe.

  29. by Tracie

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I agree with a lot of the comments on here about the child’s legs. That was my first question when I heard this new recommendation. Nothing is more important to me than the safety of my babies, but we need to be serious and realistic about this. Also, 12 year olds in booster seats???? COME ON!! So, listen to this, my twelve year old is still young enough to need to sit in a child safety seat, but only 4 years later at the age of 16, that same child is mature enough to consent to sex…. am I the only one who to see an issue with this?

  30. by Heather

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I appreciate the guidelines they have suggested. I’m just glad they are only recommendations and not the law right now. By the age of 1 my kids are sitting cross legged in their carseats while rear facing. Two of my three kids developed motion sickness around 11 months old and sitting rear facing made them vomit every time they drove in the car for more than ten minutes. Not so fun washing their carseats every day! With these new recommendations my oldest daughter will be in a booster seat on her first date. That’ll be a sight. Kidding aside I know they have the child’s best interest at heart and are only doing what they feel will keep our children safe. Forward facing is nice so you can see better why the child is crying (if they dropped something or accidentally spilled on themselves and are crying because the are wet and cold from a leaky sippy cup. Or you can see them easier if they are choking on food or something. It’s much easier to help them when you can see what they need rather than having to find somewhere to pull the car over and stop to get out to see why they are hysterical. These are just guidelines so I am thankful for their studies. Just hope it doesn’t become a law!

  31. by stacie

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:30 am

    My son is 17 months and he is very tall for his age (he is 34 1/2 inches). I am 5’8″ and my husband is 6’8″. I have a Britax Roundabout 50 in my Subaru Impreza and my husband has a Sunshine Kids Radian 80 XT SL in his Ford Explorer. We both fit comfortably in the Explorer with the seat in the middle, rear facing. My car is much smaller, but I can fit in the passenger seat with the car-seat behind me. I wouldn’t want to travel far, but I fit. As for my son, he fits just fine in both. His legs are bent slightly in the Roundabout, but they are still pretty straight in the Sunshine Kids. He will stay rear facing until he is 2. If your child looks cramped in your car-seat it is because you are trying to use the wrong size car-seat. Finally, even if the legs where pushed into the chest with enough force to break the legs and the rib cage and force a bone into the lung, death would not be immediate. The lung would most likely collapse which is not an ideal situation, but is much better then internal decapitation or a broken neck. And if the force was enough to push the legs into the chest that hard then there would be enough force to cause significant neck trauma. I choose a possible (and very unlikely) broken leg over neck trauma any day.

  32. by natasha

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I’m glad it’s just a guideline and not a law; because both of my kids are bigger than normal and advanced in car seats fastaer than normal.

  33. by Sarah

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I faced my son forward facing because he was at the weight limit and height limit at 11 mon. old, he is big for his age and there is no way I would keep him rear facing until 2! He is taller then alot of 2 yr. olds now and he’s only 15 mon. This rule isn’t going to apply to every child and they need to understand that.

  34. by Kay

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Has anyone considered redesigning the car seats as a long-term solution? Perhaps requiring auto manufacturers to design infant and booster seats as an integral component of car design? And requiring incorporating side-impact airbags?

    And what about educating people about being safer drivers in general – i.e., slowing down, no texting while driving, no phone calls, using turn signals, etc. It certainly seems to me that auto safety is a multi-faceted problem. We all have a responsibility to keep all kids safe on the roads!

  35. by Becca

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Although I don’t disagree that RF is safer, Jennifer’s comment doesn’t provide enough information to really say RF is safer. Just because Sweden has had a lower number of infant deaths than the US does not necessarily mean that what they do is safter. In order for their low number to really have any weight, I’d like to see the number of accidents represented as a percentage of parental drivers in their country and compare that to the States. It may be that the severe difference in numbers between Sweden & the States is simply because of population & driving differences. I know in a few European countries, driving isn’t common practice.

    At any rate, I do appreciate the advice from the AAP. Good tips – and definitely something we will need to consider when she turns 1. Thanks!!

  36. by Rebecca O. V.

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

    In Norway it is recommended a child should sit facing rear until closer to four years of age. My child is scandinavian so quite tall and I find he remains unbothered by his legs tipping over the side. I’d rather have a child with a broken leg than a child with a broken neck any day. ^_^

  37. by Chelsea

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

    When I first heard about the new guidelines, I have to admit that my first reaction was sheer exasperation. It’s definitely frustrating when an outside group of any kind comes up with these “ridiculous” guidelines for our children, when they aren’t the ones lugging around a heavy infant and trying to smush their chubby legs into a rear-facing car seat.

    That being said…I absolutely agree with the reasoning behind the suggestion. Babies’ spines are so vulnerable in any kind of motor vehicle crash; even in a rear-facing position, but especially in a forward-facing position. But these are just guidelines…I don’t think there is any way they could actually make this a law. Children just grow way too differently.

    I think Jenny said it best “There is no reason to judge any parent for their decision regarding this- As long as each parent makes an informed decision and feels comfortable with that decision.”

    Just think about what’s best for YOUR child, that’s why you’re the parent! If you’re unsure as to which way to “turn”…consult your pediatrician. They’ll be able to help you make an informed decision. Good luck fellow Mamas and Dads out there!(And we should be sticking together and helping each other…not judging one another! It takes a village, peeps!)

  38. by Monica

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

    My daughter is very large. At 2 1/2 she is 40 pounds and 40 inches tall… she wears a size 5 in childrens clothes. Her feet a size 9… I have friends who’s kids are 7 and 8 who are not much bigger than her…
    At 2 months old, she exceeded the weight and height requirements for her infant car seat carrier…
    At nine months old, in her rear facing car seat, my daughters leg got stuck and she suffered a fracture… so JENNIFER… there you go, now you have heard of a childs leg bone being broken… and this wasn’t even during an accident. It was while driving down the street and the way she positioned her leg.
    Her PEDIATRICIAN suggested I turn her car seat forward facing immediatly due to her size.
    I think this has to be a personal choice that each parent makes on their own based on research they have done, their own children’s size, and their own piece of mind.
    I do not think bashing each other on how safe we want our child to be should even be mentioned…I highly doubt any parent is saying “oh who cares if my kids dies in an accident, I am not going to follow this” I think those of us with larger children, have a valid concern.
    I for one, think this new “recommendation” needs to be explained a bit more and based on size not age… if my 1 year old is the size of a 3 year old, why can’t they be forward facing? And vice versa, if my 3 year old is the size of a 1 year old, they should be rear facing! AGE is not the way to go, but it would be helpful if these people could give us height AND weight limitations!

  39. by Angie

    On March 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Better broken legs than broken necks.

  40. by Kim

    On March 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    My daughter is 21 months now. 36 inches tall, 35 lbs. She’s been FF since about 14 months. I waited, even though she was scrunched up. She hated sitting in the car to travel. Especially long distances. I like her FF. Everyone is at risk in accidents. If you have your seat properly inspected by local PD or FD or even Hospitals… you will find that your child is fine. Accidents happen and bad things happen. When I was a child, there were no guidelines like this. The fact that there are MANY more cars on the road, make accidents more likely to happen. And because EVERYONE is in a hurry, they’re usually much worse accidents due to the rates of speed this accidents are happening at.

    FF should have the shoulder harness at or above the shoulders. When RF they should be at or below.

    I think we should use our best judgment on how to keep our children safe. Whether RF, FF or Booster (which my seat does all 3) it’s our best judgment. We don’t want our children hurt. Ever. Whatever you choose… best of luck. I’m not turning her seat BACK around.

  41. by Deana

    On March 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    The height and weight depend on the seat. That’s the limitations that have been given. My children are huge for their ages and remained rear facing far past their first birthdays.
    Of course any position is fine in car if an accident does NOT occur. If one does occur then one would hope for no injuries and if any did occur for them to be the least severe possible. A broken leg is much better then a broken neck or even worse.


  42. by Joe

    On March 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Why is everyone debating this? they are your children? Do what you want. If you think it is safer than keep them RF, if not turn them around. Done enough about sweden, other states smoking..etc Its your child, Its your choice. Do what you think is right for you and your child. If it was a law I doubt you would get pulled over for it and get a ticket, so it will still come down to what is your comfort level with the facts that are provided. In My opinion the accident will probably be caused by the parent who is trying to see what the hell their 2 year old is doing while facing backwards and not watching the road…
    Your Parents figured it out with way less information and technology and your not that screwed up are You?

  43. by Heather

    On March 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    While it is true, I appreciate the research, and undoubtedly the time and money put into this, I have to emphasize that they are guidelines. Each child, parent, and situation is different, and it is the parent’s responsibility to judge on these matters.
    Specifically, my 7 month old son is 22 lbs and nearly 30in. His car seat requirements are 5 to 22lbs, and 19 to 29in. Have I changed him from RF? Not yet, but it’s getting close. Because it seems to me that it would be more dangerous to ignore manufactures requirements. Which, incidentally, is a point I’ve not seen brought up so far. When my child exceeds the manufacture requirements for his seat, I will be getting him a new seat.
    Will it be RF? I don’t know, it depends entirely on what seats I’ll be able to afford. Because ALL car-seats sold in America are made to meet all requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. Now, can I afford a convertible car-seat that goes from RF to FF to Booster, sold at $119 and up? If I could, I would have gotten it in the first place. Would I like to be able to find a convertible seat that will allow my son to remain RF until he’s 35lbs, then convert to a FF until he’s big enough for a booster? Absolutely. However, if I can’t afford one, I am confident that the seat I can afford still meets the legal requirements for safety, and everything beyond that is my responsibility for driving in such a way as to exceed all safe-driving laws.

    I am the PARENT, and it is MY judgement, and MY child’s safety is MY responsibility.

  44. by Martha Snowden

    On March 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I would guess that they expect you to also use good judgement in what seat your kids are using and that it is appropriate not only for their age but also for their size. I find the my kid is too big argument to be a bit far fetched. My son was born at 10lbs and 3oz and 23 in and he was able to remain in a proper carseat in the rear facing position until late last summer and he is 3yrs old now. If your kids are scrunched up or uncomfortable in their seats it may be the seat not the reccommendation that needs to be revisited.

  45. by Erin

    On March 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    What was said about a rib puncturing the lungs. It is very possible. The person who wrote it was misunderstood. With enough force a knee could break a rib quite easily. And not only could a splinter from that rib puncture a lung but the heart also. I have a car seat that converts from infant to booster and by the time my son was maybe 10 months old his feet would get stuck. That could have easily broken his ankle. And better a broken leg? Really? There are complications for everything. And also it doesn’t matter what way a child is facing. A car accident can kill an adult as well as a child RF or FF strapped in correctly or incorrectly. It depends on the accident.

  46. by Lindsay

    On March 23, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Well after reading all the comments I have come the conclusion that he is my son and “I” will do what is best for him!
    And to all these woman who are all about what these new “guidelines” say… I am a single mother without the father involved in any way. For me to carry my child without help is taking its toll. I have a two door car because I don’t have the money to buy a big fancy SUV like you all must have and I don’t have the money to hire a nanny or an assistant or a man like you all must have and like all the people who make the guidelines must have. Just to hike my son into the back seat of a two door car everyday as heavy and long as he is now is ridiculous!
    Also, you must have children on ritalin because I know my son at 9 months is already getting unhappy about facing a back seat and not being able to look another direction.
    Whether they are facing front or rear in a car seat is not going to make a difference on what happens to their spine and neck even though they say it does… if you are in a major car accident no matter which way the child is facing the car seat with the four-point harness should keep them in place(like a race car driver harness) and the seat surrounding them! We should all also be wearing four point harnesses in cars to be truly safe. The buckles now just hold us in place and break our collar bones! This is ridiculous and why don’t they just keep us in car seats and booster seats until we’re 25!? Truly, I don’t see a point in facing him to the rear over the front if he is strapped in properly at the age of 1.
    You know what they say about opinions…

  47. by Alissa

    On March 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    As a mother and an emergency room nurse, you better believe that I want to do everything to protect my child. However, I find it a little troubling that “age 2″ has become the guideline. Obviously protecting a child’s spine and neck remains a high priority during a motor vehicle accident, but my 11 month old (like many other infants) legs already do not fit in the rear facing position. I will definitely be discussing this with my pediatrician at her 12 month appointment. The bottom line is that every parent needs to do what’s best for his or her child.

  48. by Donna

    On March 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I have no objections to keeping children safe but what about long legged kids? My granddaughter is 9 months and her legs barely fit in her RF carseat! Although she hasn’t met the required weight her height is an issue now let alone when until she turns 2!

  49. by Alissa

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Also, a response the comment above made by Lindsay…facing forward versus facing rear makes a HUGE difference in the event of a motor vehicle accident, and I have seen it first hand as a nurse in the ER. If the child’s neck is not strong enough to support his or her head, and the child is facing forward and rearended at a high rate of speed, the child’s neck can fracture–leading to numerous neurological problems and even death. I think this discussion is very healthy regarding the new guidelines. It gets us all thinking about what we need to do for our children. I think we should all respect one another’s opinion and ultimately make the decision that is best for us and our situation.

  50. by Amanda

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    When will parents actually be allowed to “parent” their children without government and other agencies being the ones to tell us what we’re supposed to do? My 8 month old daughter is already wearing 18 month old clothing because she is so tall. No way will she be able to be rear facing until she’s 2. As for the booster seats…Farm kids can get drivers licenses at 14 years of age so they can help their parents on the farm and going to and from town, etc, but they’re supposed to be in the back seat until 13, and possibly in a booster until 12? Really? Yes, if something is safer then parents should consider it, but one size doesn’t fit all-in anything. And too often in todays society too many things are being turned into a one size fits all solution.

  51. by Stephenye

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I kept my son rear-facing after he was 1 and past 20 pounds for safety. But I turned him front-facing when he had to scrunch up his legs to fit in the seat.

  52. by Traci

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    @Kim. You said “FF should have the shoulder harness at or above the shoulders. When RF they should be at or below.” But I am pretty sure that the harness should always be at or above the shoulders for RF and FF. I could be wrong though.

  53. by tina

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I don’t understand how they can have their little legs squishes up like that, there;’s been other reports that state you shouldn’t keep your legs bent for long periods due to blood clots going to the heart, such as wuth the reporter david in desert storm… i am a very paranoid person and everytime something gets changed i get worse.. your making me crazy!!!!!which symptom is better, the risk of injury in an accident or the risk of dying from a blood clot

  54. by kelly

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    everyone has a good point about this whole situation. but also if we as parents practice good and safe driving habits whether we have the kids in the car or not would also help in decreasing the chance of accidents. so that means just keeping your cell in your purse/pockets, and keeping your ears and eyes open and on the road. know what/or who is around your car. and keep it at a safe speed. i live where i have to drive about 2 hours just to get to the nearest walmart so im always alert and know what is going on around me. and so far Thank God i havent had any accidents. but as always theres always the other drivers that arent so bright but if your alert theres sometimes a way you can avoid it. you do what you think is safe for your family but remember to keep the driving safe for everyone on the road. but this new recommendation is kinda rediculous but also safe.

  55. by ash

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Being a parent means you have the knowledge when to switch from RF to FF. You know your childs weight and height and when they are develped enough. So take in consideration the “guidelines”, but you also have the right to make the choice to insure your child is as safe as possible. Quit complaining and worrying about what could happen if your child needs to be switched sooner than expected!! As a mother, u just got to stick to your instincts ; )

  56. by Lindsay K.

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    First off, The shoulder harness needs to be at and below! not above! ask your Pediatrician! I’m 99% POSITIVE on that.

    I have 2 children, the first was a preemie and wasn’t over 20 lbs until she was over a year old so i kept her RF, my 2nd child was born with shoes on! (not really, but she was big) and was the size of an 18month old at 9 months. She will be one in 2 weeks as is 25 lbs and 32in. tall. I already have her facing forward. I think that size needs to come into consideration, NOT AGE! My 3 1/2 year old is almost 30lbs and can be switched over to a booster at that weight, but because she is petite i will be keeping her in the 5 point harness for a long time!!! I feel more comfortable with her that way, and the same with my almost 1 year old about turning her forward.
    Some parents i think are a little outrageous with their decisions, but hey… its your kid. if you feel they are safe, go ahead and i will pray that you will be safe in your vehicle. I’ve passed cars that have 5 kids in the backseat, none in carseats or boosters and i feel that they need the cops called on them.

  57. by Lindsay K.

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    OH… and just because your baby is big, doesn’t mean that their neck muscles are developed! Just sayin…

  58. by becca

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    The kids legs aren’t scrunched up. They can cross their legs just fine. Kids legs are more flexible than yours. Your child should be in a rear facing car seat until they reach the height (or weight) limit of the seat. If it can RF until 36″ then kids will be able to sit comfortably until that height. Usually as they get taller they will automatically cross their legs to fit comfortably.
    My son has reached the height limit on both his car seats and he is just under 2. I was hoping to wait longer but he is to tall. So when your kid hits the height limit then turn them around.
    I dont understand why parents dont want their kids to be safe. If the kid isn’t big enough to safely turn around they can be internally decapitated. Do you want your kid to be decapitated? I certainly don’t want that happening to my son.
    I also dont find it any more convenient to have my son FF. Whats the difference there? I just don’t understand the logic (or lack thereof) of parents who think turning the seat around at 1 yr is some sort of milestone.

  59. by kay

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    WOW, I can’t believe how many people are dismissing the guidelines the AAP have suggested. Just because it is not a law, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow it. It’s not a law that you shouldn’t smoke while you’re pregnant, but you know better. It’s not a law that you shouldn’t feed your kids twinkies 3 meals a day, but you know better. When you know better, you do better! I could never live with myself if I were in a crash and my child was injured because I thought my idea of child safety was better than what doctors recommended.

  60. by Ashlie

    On March 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    They definitely need to take size into consideration. I’m 5’9″ & my husband is 6’5″. My oldest daughter will be 2yo in 3 weeks & is already 38″ tall. She’s been in the 99th percentile for her height since birth. I had to move her from RF to FF at 11 months old because her legs hung so far off the car seat that she had to scrunch them up & she absolutely HATED going on car rides anywhere. My 9 month old daughter is on the same track for height. She’s already 28″ tall & I want to keep her RF for as long as I can, but it’s hard to do when she’s so uncomfortable riding in her car seat already! I have a feeling that if I were to get into an accident with them, they end up breaking their legs/ankles because of how they have to sit. I’m all about safety when it comes to my children, but if they’re going to change the guidelines, maybe someone needs to create a new type of rear facing car seat so their legs can actually hang over the edge without them getting smashed in between the back seat & the car seat. Just an idea! And I will also be keeping my children in booster seats & in the back seat for as long as feasibly possible, but once again I’ll base that on their size first, then their age.

  61. by Conor

    On March 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I have read some great comments and I have read some rediculous comments. As a father of a 3 1/2 year old I kept my child rear facing until 19 months. My daughter did not always tolerate it but she was safe and that was the biggest concern.

    As a car seat technician for the past 11 years I have been involved in the installation and education of a lot of parents / grand parents. Unfortunately parents do not enquire or get help most times when installing car seats. As a result over 80% are installed incorrectly.

    I have hread a lot or arrogance as to it is my child and I will do what is right for my child. That arrogance can get your child hurt or killed. The numbers do not lie. 4 children a day day in traffic accidents. Most are not properly restrained. The head is the heaviest part of a young childs body and the neck is a very weak muscle. Testing has shown severe neck and spine damage can be done at low speed crashes when the child is forward facing too soon.

    By=ut as many have so clearly pointed out these are just recommendations. The law is not as precise and probably never will. Laws always follw after recommendations so who knows maybe it will change. I just hope some of you would lose the arrogance based on ignorance. Sometimes you don’t know what is best for your child and seek some advice,, Research the topic before commenting and mambe you won’t come off so ignorant.

    Bottom line it is the parents responsibility for their child. Don’t automatically assume you know everything. Education is the key.

    Please be safe out there. Thanks

  62. by becca

    On March 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Kim. You said “FF should have the shoulder harness at or above the shoulders. When RF they should be at or below.” But I am pretty sure that the harness should always be at or above the shoulders for RF and FF. I could be wrong though.

    For RF the harness should be below the shoulders but not ridiculously lower.
    Scroll down about a quarter of the way to the headline that reads “Installation tips for rear-facing seats”

  63. by conor

    On March 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm


    RF seats should have the belt at or below the shoulder as it enters the seat. FF should be at or above the shoulder as it eners the seat.

  64. by Jenn

    On March 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I have to say that this to me makes sense but is not realistic for my daughter! She is a very long and big girl! At the age of 10 months she had out grown her rear facing and was ready for forward facing! I kept her in the RF til she was 11 months but I had to switch her! Her legs were too long to fit in a RF she had them crossed or up on the backseat! I can’t imagine that in a car crash it would be very good for her legs to be like that! But seeings how she’s so tall she had no where else to put them! Thank you for the guidelines but it really has to depend mostly on the child!

  65. by Sills

    On March 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    All these comments are ridiculous! Just another thing the government wants to control! How bout everyone drive safe and we wouldn’t have to rerad these proposturous ideas. How come they haven’t reported all the accidents where babies get thrown regardless on major impact. A woman lost all 3 of her babies in the back seat of her vehicle because of a negligent driver. Come on people don’t you see how our government dictates every aspect of our lives. Everyone wants to play God! Get a grip and stop living in fear because its exactly what Satan wants! Live today not tomorrow!

  66. by Eileen

    On March 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    How about we all stop texting while driving! And hang up the phone too while you are at it. And pay attention to the road. Having a kid in the car is distracting enough. You will be safer on the road, your kids will be safer, and you will not be the one who ends up smashing into someone else’s kid!

  67. by Sills

    On March 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Also I’m 5″4″ and the seatbelt cuts into my throat so it doesn’t matter how tall or small find a way to make it safe and stop listening to someone elses dumb ideas. Where is the childs feet going to go while in a rear-facing seat when they’re that big? Dictate dictate dictate
    Funny why aren’t there seatbelts on our children’s school buses…don’t see arguing that one! Hypocrisy at its best. No helmets for motorcyclists. Done with this!

  68. by Antoinette

    On March 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Everybody is taking this too far! It’s a guideline not a law. In the end you know whats best for your child. My daughter was taken out of a rf carseat at 11 months and my son at 10 months. All kids are built different!

  69. by Krystal

    On March 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I agree that there’s really no point in arguing about this topic. It’s amazing that there are still people who don’t even put their child in a car seat!
    I do have a concern about no seat belts on a school bus. Why haven’t we pushed that issue? When I was a kid, we bounced all over the place on the bus. I would have felt much safer with at least a lap belt! What’s wrong with this picture?? I am also a tall woman with a very tall family and my child is already FF and has been since she was about 14 months. I think people are taking this a little far with the spinal injuries and punctured lungs! It would be best if we would all pay attention and drive and quit getting distracted with cell phones and texting!

  70. by Simone

    On March 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Well said, Jennifer.

  71. by Lorin

    On March 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I think this is just ridiculous as lots of these parents. My son is 6 months old, can sit on his own, weighs 22lbs and is 28-30″ long and i have put him in the next seat because his ankles were being banged around everytime I went through a doorway. Unreal… first carseats are expiring and now they have to be rear facing for 2 years. This is ridiculous. If you don’t want your child to be injured then stay off the road. Remember back 17 years ago when they came home on a change table mattress in your back seat! Where were things then? And now expiry dates on car seats, that is so some company can get rich so no one can give car seats as hand me downs. Also facing backwards, I think is ridiculous for that long. If you travel a fair distant how fun it looking at the seat and I had one child who used to get car sick also and the only way I could travel was with him focusing on people or the outside. One more thing sitting in a booster till they are 12 is ludicrous. We have some adults who should have their license in boosters and how can anyone pick up anyone’s kids without borrowing 10 carseats. What is this world coming too…. we love our kids dearly and an accident is an accident, you don’t just drive into someone on the highway to harm you children. If you love them you will try your best to be best parent ever. Buckle them up like the law says these other guidelines make people freaks about worrying… how silly, life is way to short to worry about this stuff!

  72. by jamie

    On March 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    ok i dont know what size two year olds they have, but most kids that age ive seen are too big to sit backwards in a car seat. where would they put their legs?? i have 5 kids and one on the way and every time i turn around the “rules” are changing. ridiculous. from babies sleeping on their tummies so they wont choke on puke to sleeping on back 4 another reason to side cuz of sids, make up my mind will ya? guess “they” really dont know what “they” are talking about if you think about it.

  73. by Bridget

    On March 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    This is a long researched subject. My husband is a police officer and has seen many accidents. A guideline suggested by a reliable source is a guideline I’m willing to follow. My children were both tall for their ages but I left them rear facing for a while after they turned one. The seats naturally recline but you can sit them up a little bit more so their legs fit better.

    For those concerned that parents should drive safer, here’s a story for you. Recently, my husband was at a bad accident where mom did nothing wrong but a driver fell asleep at the wheel and crossed into her lane, she tried to avoid him by going into his lane (there was no shoulder only guard rails), he ended up hitting her on the rear passenger side where her child was sitting in a booster seat. The child was killed; 4 years old. I have a 5 year old that could go either way ~ booster seat or car seat. She is coming out of her booster seat. I don’t know if that child would have survived had they used a harness instead of a seatbelt but I wouldn’t want it to be my child in that seat and there is no argument that a harness holds a child better. So, you can be as safe as you want but you can not control what others do.

    It may be exciting turning your child around and save more room to have the booster seat instead of the car seat and then transitioning to no seat but safety first. Also, some of these guidelines also take into consideration the development of children at a certain age. I remember wanting to turn my first child around. The safey officer that works with my husband explained the development portion of the guidelines that explain why a child should be rear facing – he also agreed (4 years ago) it should be longer. He witnessed accidents where children broke their necks in FF seats – never in a rear facing seat. Something to think about.

    Also, as a side note, I used to make my grandmother sit in the backseat of my car because she was too short and too frail to sustain the airbag if we should get into an accident. Did she fight me at first? Yes. But she did it – and happily after a while.

    As for when we were children and not using safety seats – these guidelines were set up because so many other children died. We just happen to be the lucky ones. Those that died don’t have a voice anymore to counter your stupid arguement.

  74. by Janelle

    On March 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    You need to do what is best for your child….I have a 7 month old and she is already almost the height of a 2 year old…there for there is almost NO WAY she can stay in that seat till she is 2! I agree they should stay in a RF seat as long as they can but when you have a child who will not stop growing RF seats can be a problem. YOU know what is best for your child, so don’t let other peoples opinions sway you one way or another, it is YOUR child so YOU make the decision not someone else.

  75. by Lauren

    On March 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    @KARA!!!!! Hey would you rather your kids have broken legs (which is a SMALL chance during an accident) then being internally decapitated or paralyzed from a broken neck because you turned them around soon. I mean please you are not special because you are tall

  76. by Annie

    On March 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    They aren’t saying that kids should stay in the SAME car seat from infancy to 2 years old. They recommend getting a different car seat after the normal year mark that has always been there for the backwards facing seats. Only now they say you should install the baby seats facing backwards instead of forwards. I don’t see why people are making such a stink- who cares if there is a bit less room for the passenger in the front seat if it keeps your child safe.
    As far as “I would have been in a booster until high school”, it specifically says between the ages of 8-13 that boosters can be stopped. So no, you wouldn’t.

  77. by Lauren

    On March 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    OMG people PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do your research. They make seats for very tall children. Kids are riding RF these days till 5! Invest in your child’s life. Check out these pictures and please do what is best for your babies: THESE ARE NOT OPINIONS THEY ARE FACTS

  78. by Annie

    On March 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    And @ Jamie- research changes, that is why recommendations change. I think it’s bullheaded and absolutely stupid to continue to do things just because that’s how you want to do it or because your other kids were OK and put your younger kids at risk. Obviously I am alive despite having slept on my stomach as a baby, but I will not put my son to sleep on his stomach. Obviously I was OK despite facing forward in my car seat at age one, but I will listen to the experts to protect my son. Research is research, if you’re not going to listen to it, that is your own problem and unfortunately your child may have to suffer the consequences. I am not saying that research is always 100% right, but why would you risk it. I say, take what the experts have to say and apply it to your life. They are experts for a reason and anything I can do to keep my baby safe, I will do.

  79. by J

    On March 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Ok, this is going a little too far……first off YES you should do what is BEST for YOUR child…..but after countless, sleepless & screaming nights, I put my child to bed on her tummy and guess what, it solved everything….that is the ONLY way she wants to sleep….she is now almost 7 months and I can put her to bed on her back and when she wakes up she will be on her tummy….So despite what ‘research’ says you need to do what is best for your child and yourself and don’t let other people tell you otherwise…they can do what they want and you do the same.

  80. by JoJo

    On March 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I would have been in a car seat until I was 11. The new 4’9″ is ridiculous. And my now 2 yr old son won’t get to ride in the front until he’s over 12? He’s already above average for his height! I don’t like the new guidelines, too confusing!

  81. by Tammy

    On March 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    My 13 yr old son stayed in the rear facing position until he was almost 2. We switched him because I couldn’t stand for him to continue to cry due to his knees being pushed almost to his chest. Had we been in a wreck while he was in the rear facing position at that time he would have broken both legs. The rear facing position is the correct position for small children, but when they grow too long for that position, they need to be turned around. It’s their length that needs to be looked at. Not all children grow at the same rate and same lengths!

  82. by Lydia

    On March 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    In 2009, my 3 yr old son and I were in a major collision. A women attempted to pull out across traffic and her car died in the road, in my lane. I hit her going at least 45, slamming on the breaks and attempting to swerve out of her way (she literaly gave me like 30 seconds to think)… anyways, I had just not 2 days before took him out of his forward facing carseat and into a booster. I ended up in the hospital for days with multiple injuries (9 broken ribs, punctured lung, lacereated liver and my knee was crushed. My son had one tiny mark from the seat belt that was gone in a few days. We hit so hard, that the trunk of the car pushed my son and his car seat nearly into my seat, but he was not injured beyond the one little mark. I was very surprised, and of course happy, at how well that seat actually worked and how safe it kept my child. If you could see pictures of my car after the accident, you’d be shocked by the mildness of my sons physical injury. I will forever advocate for the safety of these seats and I thank god that someone out there is thinking about the saftey of our children.

  83. by Jessica

    On March 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Why isn’t anyone considering the safety concerns involved with the height of the the childs head when rear facing in an infant seat? Vehicle accidents happen from all directions. They are not limited to head-on collisions and rear ends. If a child is too tall for their carrier and you are involved in a side-impact collision, the child could potentially have damage to their head and brain. My point is this: The focus is being put on the childs legs, which is the most obvious issue, however thier overall size needs to be taken into consideration in regard to what best protects them. As a 6’2″ mother with a 6’4″ husband our 27 month old daughter is already the height of a four year old. It wasn’t the length of her legs that concerned me at 11 months (when we moved her to forward facing), but the placement of her head.
    If there are new guidlines then there need to be new products to meet them so mothers like us can spend more time at play dates and less time beating each other up with judgmental words in cyberspace. God bless and have a great day, everyone!

  84. by Ella

    On March 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    We switched our baby at 14 months when she reached 22 pounds, but she was 29 inches by 10 months. That whole time between her legs getting too long to us switching, she would kick the back seat and rock her infant carrier base loose and we’d have to check the belts for tightness periodically.

    Again, this is a recommendation not a law. I agree with first comment regarding “children up to 19″. Just last week in our town there were accidents involving 15-16 year old teenagers driving while using phone or skidding on ice, so that statistic is exaggerated. And regarding 4’9″, I am 5’1″, I pass!

  85. by Jaime

    On March 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    What i’m wondering is… how many accidents have children been in that are 1-2 years old that are in their car seats RF to know that it’s safer? I’m sorry but i don’t think their are all that many. I would say the majority of people switch their child around to the front by the age of one because of their legs being scrunched up. also, what kind of vehicles were they in and from what direction did the vehicle get hit in from the accident? i think that would make a difference too. where is the information on that? i would need a lot more info before i would believe all of this…

  86. by Jess

    On March 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    The article uses 2 and 12 as a suggested guideline, however, it also states when the child outgrows the size limitations on the rf seat, ff seat and booster. So, if your child surpasses the height and weight limitations of whichever seat, they should no longer be in that seat. If you had read further into the article, you would have noticed that. And, as this study took several years, I imagine that they were very thorough with their study. Other countries, and different parents, keep kids rear facing longer knowing that it is in the child’s best interests… as long as they fall within the restrictions of the seat.

  87. by Evangeline

    On March 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Okay, so I am 4’10″ and my 11 year old is 5’2″ and built like a woman (we wear the same size)…and she can’t sit in the front because why?. So, they move to the front seat at 13 and then to the left front seat to drive just 3 years later? I also have a 10 year old daughter who is 4’6″ and may not make 4’9″ till she is 14…she hasn’t been in a booster seat since she was 8, and I am thinking she won’t be going back into one at this point. My 7 year old has been looking forward to exiting HER booster seat at the end of this year when she turns 8.

  88. by mom o'three

    On March 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I totally get the new guidelines.. but they are guidelines. Look at the bottom and it explains all children are different, and to base each transition on the height and weight limits of the seat. I do think making a 12 year old sit in the cramped back seat is silly.. but 2 year olds are still just babies… My 11 year old sits in the front because at one point, there was an infant seat and a booster back there. No room for him. And if you can’t afford a mini-van?? Um, no. I had to switch out my daughter’s infant seat for a toddler carseat as soon as she was a year old. She was already almost 3 inches taller than the height limit.. Her little legs hung over one end and her head the other.. But she was barely 21, 23 lbs. Would love to have had a car big enough to have her toddler seat rear facing. I have an idea.. Why dont we all start driving backwards? :) Oh, and wouldnt it be hilarious if we made all kids up to age 19 wear bike helmets while riding in cars? Just a thought..

  89. by deb

    On March 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    So if you have to stay in a booster seat till your taller then 4’9 does that mean that at the age of 45 i will have to start sitting in one too?? This is ridulous!!!!!! And there is no way that my grandson will fit in a RF carseat when he is already 80% taller then kids his age at 7 mos old. I wont put him threw that it is bad enough there making me go back to a booster seat!!!!!!

  90. by Lara

    On March 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Legs just are not an issue, my son is 23 months and 28lbs and he is rear facing and will be for at least another 12 months! thats right he will be nearly 3!!!!!!!!!!!! he just bends his legs either sideways like a frog or at the knees or he sticks them straight out. He is perfectly comfy in his seat and I ride with him knowing he is as safe as I can make him. Kids are so bendy its just not a big deal for them and as many have said better broken legs than a broken neck. I hope they do make it law hopefully it would mean ERF seats what get cheaper mine cost £200 quid.

  91. by Lisa

    On March 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    My oldest was in a RF carseat until she was about 18 mos- she was still only 16 lbs at 1 yr old! I probably could have been in a booster in at least middle school possibly freshman in HS by the guidelines! The point is that the child has to be able to fit appropriately in a seat belt system to be as safe as possible in an accident. My sis in Law had her child in a FF carseat before she was one- I was so worried for her- how can she be able to control her head as well as an older child in an accident? The guideline are for safety- I’d rather my child be safe. My oldest , who is now 4, should be (by age) in a backless booster, but she only weighs 34lbs- backless boosters are for 40lbs plus- guess she will be in a car seat until she is 5 or 6, don’t mind- as long as she is safe. Whats more important safety or conveinence? My newest (3 mos) will stay rearfacing until he grows out of the limits for the seat.

  92. by Kellyee

    On March 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I don’t appreciate being guilted and scared into keeping my son in a RF seat. He is 7 months old, 30 inches and 24 pounds. His feet touch the back seat now. I’m not going to keep him in the seat with his knees in his chest or sitting like a frog as someone else suggested. I will most likely move him to a FF seat at 1 year.
    Please stop posting about children dying in their car seats. It’s hard enough raising a child and following all the other recommendations out there. I don’t need people scaring me into making a decision. There are no guarantees in life. I will do what’s best for my son. I wouldn’t want to sit in a car with my knees in my chest. No matter how I place my son in his car seat, an accident can happen where there is injury. I will never do anything to hurt him and I would give my life so please don’t tell me that my decision could kill him. He’s in the 95th percentile. He’s wearing 24 month clothes. These guidelines don’t help us.

  93. by BB

    On March 23, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Here in Manila, child seat is not in the law, however, a lot of parents like me buy car seats for safety and convenience. I’m wondering why there are fewer car accidents here with lots of kids not in their car seats and sometimes, adults get away with not wearing their seat belts too. Maybe traffic is that bad haha, but then sometimes it really makes me wonder if too much ado over safety is really for the best.

  94. by Alanna

    On March 24, 2011 at 12:14 am

    My oldest son was rear facing until 18 months, my youngest son is still rear facing, he is 16 months. He will remain rear facing until he is 2 or longer. Safety first! Kids cannot make decisions for themselves, therefore; it is our job as their parents to make sure we do everything in our power to keep them safe. I turned my daughter forward facing at 11 months. This was before I did research and before it was a “guideline” to keep them rear facing. My daughter is now 7 and is in a booster seat, and is quite tall for her age but still only 55lbs. I dont see why it is such a controversial issue? Im not preaching, just saying. Its a no-brainer I think. My sons feet have touched the seat since he was about 11 months, he doesnt care. Its not like his knees are touching his chin lol. I take his shoes or boots off too for comfort. If I crash, and his toes get cold, that is ok. If his neck is still in tact, that is the whole point. I must say my daughter was 100 percent fine being forward facing at 11 months….because I didnt get in any accidents. Happy travelling.

  95. by Amber

    On March 24, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I would do anything to keep my baby safe so if i need to keep her and a rear facing seat so be it but they are gonna have to make the seats bigger which poises a problem her little one barly fits in the back seat as is heaven forbig someone thats taller then me has to drive cuz they wouldnt be able to move the seat.

  96. by Kayla F

    On March 24, 2011 at 12:33 am

    I think if rear facing is neccessary to prevent car accident death in young children then go with it. I just believe that these people need to take size into consideration, rather than just age. I bought my son a car seat that was appropriate for his size. Later that week I got pulled over, the trooper asks how old my son was. When I told him one year old, he issued me a citation for having the incorrect car seat. I advised him that my 1yr old is the size of a 2yr and that was the appropriate size car seat to fit him. He could no longer sit in a car seat that is designed for 1 year olds. So instead of these people always sticking an age on something, the weight and height are more important. Not all 2 year olds are the same size. My two year old is a 4t size 8 1/2 shoe sized kid. He stands up even with most 3 1/2 year olds. There is no way I could turn his car seat around to face the back of the seat without his legs being crunched up. There is no room for them to go. He would be sitting in tornado drill position for every where we go. SO PLEASE TAKE WEIGHT AND HEIGHT INTO CONSIDERATION.

  97. by Michelle - Jewelry

    On March 24, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I agree that there should be guidelines based on SIZE and not necessarily AGE. However, I do think that age plays a role in a child’s overall muscular development, and therefore his or her physical capacity to resist any damage that may occur in an accident. Honestly, I think the researchers really are trying to help out. I don’t think they enjoy upsetting parents, they are just giving suggestions based on research.

  98. by Jennifer M

    On March 24, 2011 at 2:29 am

    I can’t believe some of these comments…”unpractical”, “there your children do what you want”, “parents who claim they always know best”, and on and on and on! We are talking about LIFE and DEATH!!! The 2 year old recommendation is just that…a recommendation. Sure some children in some exceptional cases will need to be moved to forward facing earlier than that. The bottom line is that you should follow your car seat restrictions and keep your child in the car seat until they exceed those restrictions. This would work 100 % of the time, b/c if your child has exceed the car seat limits then you know it’s safe to go to the next level. Really, what’s most important here? What’s at stake? Also, shame, shame, shame on “Parents” magazine for some of the pictures posted in related articles showing children who are not buckled correctly! And for the parents who claim that they always know best for their child just remember that pride comes before the fall. Do you really believe that you know more than the people who have devoted their life’s work to study and research on this issue? Did our parents know best when as children we were not even required to be buckled at all? I think that time has answered that question.

  99. by Jennifer M

    On March 24, 2011 at 2:32 am

    BTW, my 8 1/2 year old is still in a booster seat and my last baby stated in a RF car seat until almost 2 when she passed the the height restriction of the car seat. We are a tall family and my kiddos to just fine!

  100. by Jennifer M

    On March 24, 2011 at 2:39 am

    A few people have made comment about being 4’9″ and being an adult. But if you do your research the crash test sites say 4’9″, 80 lbs, and between 8-12 years old. So for all the adults who keep making comments about whether or not they need to go back to a booster seat, I’m sure that you meet the other qualifications. Aren’t you over 80 lbs. and over 12 years old?

  101. by Safety first

    On March 24, 2011 at 2:43 am

    For those complaining that the childs “legs will be to their chest” in a rear facing seat–first off, put your child in the CORRECT seat. When using the correct seat, the majority of children will fit just fine until the age of 2. As far as the childhood obesity epidemic goes, PARENTS are in control of their childrens weight!! Watch what you feed your children! No child under 2 should be eating fast food! Rear facing is the BEST option for safety for these kids–quit putting yoru convenience over your childrens safety!

  102. by Jessica

    On March 24, 2011 at 9:14 am

    My son who is almost 3 now turned to front facing in his car seat at about 11 months b/c he was 20 lbs and he was kicking the back seat and pushing his car seat back… i thought it was much safer for him to be facing forward and not kicking seats and pushing against them. like with everything, every child is different and shouldn’t be boxed into a category b/c of an average. i believe in keeping them rear facing as long as you can with safety in mind.

  103. by Shasta

    On March 24, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Why are we debating this? I have read all of the comments above and I suggest every parent research this topic for themselves and do what they feel is safest for their child/children. Period. There is nothing else to discuss or debate.

  104. by j

    On March 24, 2011 at 10:14 am

    @safety first……you just ate your own words ‘majority’ of children….that is exactly right…NOT ALL children will be able to accomodate the 2yr recommendation…..and its not because all of us are feeding our children fast food as to why they grow out of the RF seats so quickly….lets not assume things as it will make an A*S out of you and me!!!!!!! I think we need to stop discussing this topic as people will do what they think is best for their child no matter what someone else might tell them to do….

  105. by Lori Miller

    On March 24, 2011 at 11:10 am

    The thing to remember…..Children are still growing…their bones and muscles are not made like adult bones until or even after Age 12….This is why the regulations and suggestions are made. Children respond differently to a crash then adults do because of their growing bodies. Children are the most precious cargo we transport. We need to keep that cargo in the best shape possible….So let us take this information to heart to keep all children, ALL Children safe at all times….they are the future.
    I transport young children as part of my job. The 4 year old child is usually crossing her legs or is curled up in the car seat. So a long legged child in a rear facing seat can adjust. It is like adults who regularly use a seat belt. It is a habit and we get used to it. but if it is not a regular part of life….then adults complain and kids will too.
    Let us all try to keep all Children safe at all times.

  106. by Laura Lee Soileau

    On March 24, 2011 at 11:34 am

    To all those who are incovenienced by keeping your child rf until 2, you should really read the facts. If you can give your child a 75% greater chance of safety why not???? Also to those who complain that their child is too big, my is a big 17 month old (over 30lbs) & she does just fine rf as long as the carseat is properly installed. I am so tired of hearing complaining about the rf until 2 because it is proven safer for your children.

  107. by Jessica

    On March 24, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I agree that age 2 is a little over the top. It deeefinitely is not “safer” in the rear facing carseats they have now because of the size of the child. I agree with the others about problems with leg room! I believe that if they come out with a more efficient car seat it will be too big and bulky to fit into the average car. Also the size of the carseat will not allow the parent to monitor the child very well. Yes they have mirrors you can hang up but not everyone can afford to get all the bells and whistles to make things easier. What if you have multiple carseats? It will not fit in the average size car! Right now this is just a recommendation not a Law!

  108. by Ann

    On March 24, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Alot want 2 talk about over the top. Then, when their child gets seriously hurt or worse, then they wana cry why me. I am glad that in the world we live in with people who don’t always make the best judement calls; as well as those who should not even be driving a vehicle, that there are those that are taking the time to research ways to help keep my kids safe. Personaly I rather leave my kids in a safer set a little longer then losing them completely.

  109. by Alicia

    On March 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    This is an odd coincidence, I just bought a FF car/booster seat for my daughter, but was debating taking it back. At fifteen months old, she’s only 17 pounds, but is almost 30″ tall. She has outgrown her infant seat, and I was just waiting for her to gain a few more pounds before we turned her around. I’m still debating because she’ll likely be too tall for a rear-facing car seat before long. Peace, mothers, we all want the best for our babies!

  110. by Katrina

    On March 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    I have a 9 month old daugher and have already had to buy a larger car seat for her because of her length. I plan on keeping her RF until she meets the size recomendations for her specific seat. But it wasn’t that many years ago that children didn’t have to legally be in any type of infant/child seat, or anyone in the car have safety belts for that matter…look how many of us suvived.

  111. by Malinda

    On March 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    This will make it very difficult to travel with a one year old. You wont be able to see them for one; which could be dangerous if they were choking. I do not agree with this new law. How do we fight it?

  112. by Janet

    On March 24, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I totally agree with the booster seat requirments, but as for the rear facing, there has to be better requirements. My daughter is just shy of her first birthday. She is already a little squished with her knees up. What is she going to be like at 18 mths then 2 yrs. There has be something better. Recalculate those statistics to a more specific age group instead of 2 to 19.

  113. by Barbara

    On March 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    My daughter is 17 months, 34 inches tall, and 28 pounds… AND still rearfacing!! For all you selfish parents out there who think the car seats aren’t big enough to accommodate your child.. you are wrong! Stop wasting your money on crap and buy a bigger, better, safer car seat! It’s the life of your child you should be worried about, and NOTHING else!! I bought a new $100+ car seat for my daughter at 10 months because she outgrew the infant car seat but made sure it was forward AND rearfacing, and it’s good up to 100 lbs.. I am comfortable in knowing that my daughter is being kept as safe as I possibly can keep her when she needs to be in the car. All of you who think it’s an inconvenience to keep your child safe by using a rearfacing seat you need to do some research and see the videos that are out there. If you knew that forward facing, your child’s neck could stretch up to 4 inches in a crash but that the spinal cord can only stretch about 2 inches before it snaps may make you think differently about keeping your kid rearfacing. Even the best and safest drivers in the world can’t control how anyone else drives.

    And Melinda, it’s not a law yet or did you not read the entire article? AND it is also recommended that you DO NOT let your kids eat in the car because of the choking hazard. Either don’t let you kid eat when you can’t pay attention to them (dangerous even if not in the car) or make YOURSELF more comfortable and get a mirror that attaches to the back or the backseat. Worry more about driving and not crashing than about the stuff your kid could choke on that you shouldn’t have given them in the first place.

    Alicia – current law states 1 year AND 20 lbs, not either/or… I too had to return a car seat I had purchased because of just that. It is a pain in the butt, but legally and for safety, it’s worth the extra trip to the store.

  114. by Mandy

    On March 25, 2011 at 4:14 am

    when it comes to child safety , don’t argue . . .

  115. by mandy

    On March 25, 2011 at 4:17 am

    I agree with you Barbara . . I’ve had so many parents and my own family argue with me over this and nit pick the safety crash test vids of babies in carseats and all kinds of crap .. . nit pick? really? you’re gonna argue that your kid’s knees are a little bent and you dont like it? how about their head disconnecting from their body? seriously ladies .. . I can’t even believe that people would argue. . .

  116. by Kristi

    On March 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I really think that people will argue about anything nowadays. The AAP made recommendations based on proven studies. Recommendations are just that. It is up to the individual on what direction their child will face. Been reading some of the posts on here and people forget that thank god we live in America where we can speak our mind but there is really no need to tell someone else what to do. I think the choice is clear but it is still someone’s choice.

  117. by Lynn

    On March 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Just watched Joel’s Journey, my one year old son WILL be in a rear facing as long as possible. Maybe I can get my 14 year old son in one as well.

  118. by lynn

    On March 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I must admit, I was really upset to hear that they recommend rear facing until age two, but then I read more info and really believe that this is the best for my child, all children really. His legs at 12 months old are already starting to be scrunched, but at least I know he is safe!

  119. by Political Social Network

    On April 1, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Great article. Thanks for sharing the very important information.

  120. by Ashley

    On April 4, 2011 at 7:50 am

    I think this is ridiculous, of course I want the safest options for my child but its true a comment I read a child of 2 years old their legs may be long already so how would they fit rear facing. And the guidelines till they are 4’9 and ridiculous I would’ve been in a booster seat till 9 grade. Everyone knows their own child and should just do what they see right to them. No one will raise your child but you. I don’t believe much in what so called “specialists” say because one day they say this is better the next they say its bad. So I go on my instincts. Sometimes I think they just make up different things to make money. Forget that I don’t care what no one says. I stopped using anything period at the age of 6 and rode in the front and I am alive and well. Even had a car accident and nothing happen, so do what you deem right for the situation. And not what others what you to believe.

  121. by Ashley

    On April 4, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Lynn your 14 year old son a booster seat? Really?? Now you just want to make him the laughing stock of his school. That ridiculous… no offense but that ridicolous. If you were my mom at that age I would’ve laughed in your face. Have a great day!

  122. by Aunt of 8

    On April 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I know my opinion probably means nothing to many experienced parents, since I don’t personally have kids, but I do have 8 nieces and nephews ranging from 11 years old to 1 day old. I think Rear Facing seats are very safe, but I also think that some kids aren’t really made for that. I have a niece who is very uncomfortable in a Rear facing seat and she is 1 1/2. When she scrunches her legs, she says “ow ow ow!” I think that since this is just a recommendation, each parent has their own choice to make. They know their kids best, so they should do what they think is right for their child. This has become a very heated debate over something that is not a law, but a recommendation. No one wants their child to become injured in an accident, so everyone has the same mission in mind…keeping their kids safe. Its up to the individual parent.

  123. by Dan

    On April 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    How about everybody stops being so critical of everyone else and do whatever they feel is best for their. The fact that you can judge someone as a horrible parent for not RF their child until 2 is absurd and ignorant. A parent knows their child best and will live with whatever consequences should something happen. It’s called accepting responsibility, something this country is terrible at. When did we stop making decisions for ourselves? Since when is the government better at raising my child than me? My 1 y/o son is 26 pounds and 38 inches long. My 4 y/o daughter is 35 pounds and 47 inches long. I guess I’m a bad parent for having her in a booster seat and him forward facing. I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions. Everyone worry about their own situation before judging everyone else.

  124. by Julie

    On April 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I regards to booster seats…. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see car manufacturers be required to create seat belts that accomodate most passengers-short, tall and children (age 4 & over)??? Perhaps an adjustable seatbelt for height, like many do for the front. Why are they not required to keep up with the restraint laws, instead of manufacturing a product to adjust the child? What a great selling feature!!! Try it in a minivan; I’ll be it will go over great!!!

  125. by Desiray

    On April 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I know everyone has their own opinions, I can see both sides, having big kids myself. I mean everyone thinks my 7 yr old is 9, and when my daughter was 12 mon she was the same size as a 2 yr old. Anyway, that is why these are just guidelines and not laws. It would be nice if they would give more specifics but they dont. To the mother who thinks the size of her child when he or she was born makes her a big kid now is not true, not to say she is not big, Im just saying birth weight doesnt determine their size at 2, It just means u had a healty pregnancy, my kids were just as big and they were early. But premature babies r supposed to be caught up to other kids their age by age two so birth weight has nothing to do with ur child size at age2, its ur genetics or he or she may be big because of her diet. But to get back on track, its all want works for u, you know what your, and your childs needs are for safety u make an educated decision. Like everyone has been saying.

  126. by Desiray

    On April 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Its funny to see everyones comments because the majority of people who are for it have smaller children and the parents who oppose rf have taller children.

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  130. by Linda

    On April 7, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I can’t understand why parents think about their own convenience more than the health of their child. My daughter is 8 and has no problem riding in a booster because I explained to her the fact that if the seat belt doesn’t fit correctly, she could die! None of her friends ride in boosters and I just pray they don’t end up in an accident with the parent saying “but they didn’t want to ride in a booster”. Since when in safety up to what the child wants? Be a parent!

  131. by julie

    On April 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

    ok i totally disagree with this. this is coming from a mother who breastfeeds. i hate carseats as it is but until they r two thats outrageous daddy is 6 8 and im only 5 ft their big and bulky and heavy and hard to deal with putting the straps always wakes my baby up. and further more she sreams as we r driving down the usually because she needs too burp and cant.because the carseat just doesnt sit right for her. and she dont like pacifiers. so what in the hell r u supposed to do.let them scream i dont think so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!cant handle that. keeping her in a rf carseat is not going to happen as she is going to grow out of them soon shes going to b very long legged. this is far fetched and theese people that recommend this. this is my do they have kids?do they know what it is like to listen to a child sream for mommy? and u cant do anything about it. or have they even babysat an infant for a week or so? i bet not this is just what they all think we shuold do. i use carseats but dont like this thing of them being in rf till they r two is just plaine stupid.

  132. by Shaina

    On April 7, 2012 at 10:14 am

    My girls are both over 2 now anyways, but I had to switch my older one when she was 6 months and my younger one when she was 10 months, for one simple reason… THEY NO LONGER FIT IN THE REAR FACING POSITION. granted both my kids were 90th percentile heights as infants, but keeping a child rear facing til two just seems ridiculous to me cause their legs are too long to fit in the rear facing position, unless you put them sitting Indian style in the car seat, which I doubt is recommended either… when their legs face the back of the cars actual seat, you can only keep them that way til their feet touch the back of the cars seat, which in most cases is less then a year. If they want kids rear facing till two then they need to redesign rear facing car seats entirely.

  133. by Peggy Sue Bostwick

    On April 7, 2012 at 10:29 am

    To Sarah (3/2011) & anyone else that thinks the new recommendation (below 4″9′) should be in a booster seat has gone too far….Well as a Nurse who is Certified in Car Seat Safety & installing them, the numbers speak for themselves, and soon you will see adults in booster sits. Seats belts are made for any one above 4’9″ THAT INCLUDING ADULTS, THE INTERAL DAMAGE FROM A SEAT BELT TO SOMEONE BELOW 4’9″ IS MASSIVE BLEEDING & YOU PROBABLY WON’T MAKE IT TO THE HOSPITAL. So you go ahead & wear that safety belt without a booster seat…. if your under 4’9″, but you won’t ride in my truck without one. The facts are to black & white. Example: A mother & her infant in a properly installed carseat are pushed off the Coronado Bridge – the car is flatten, mother is dead but the baby doesn’t even have a scratch. Another story about a Teen that bleeds out & dieds at the scence.
    you could see the seat belt lines in the patient.
    Carseats & booster seats do save lives.

  134. by Michelle

    On April 7, 2012 at 10:40 am

    If you buy a carseat that is made to be rear facing until age 2, then it reclines and installs with the fact that children’s legs get longer!! They aren’t all scrunched. I just turned my 2 1/2, very tall child to FF. His legs weren’t ever scrunched and he was much safer!! My almost 2nd grader still sits in a booster, too!! Why wouldn’t we want them to be as safe as possible??

  135. by Abby

    On April 7, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    For those of you who say your child’s legs are scrunched need to get a new carseat that is a convertable seat/one that can go rear and forward facing. If you have the proper seat their legs shouldn’t be scrunched. My husband is 6’5″ and I am 6′ my daughter has been tall since the day she was born, she is now 16 months and still rear facing and it doesn’t bother her. She is nearly 30lbs and at a year was 33.5 inches tall. We have a Safety 1st carseat that is rear facing/forward facing and then turns into a full back booster and it works great for us. I WILL do anything to keep my child saf, and you should do the same for yours!

  136. by KMom

    On April 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    How did any of us survive childhood? You know, before carseats and/or seatbelts. Not saying they are not imparetive these days, just wondering what our parents big safety concerns were back in the day!

  137. by Lisa

    On April 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I have 3 grandchildren and 2 of them were so tall by their first birthday that they had to be turned around to face forward. I can see the safety guidelines but I’m afraid that, although safety comes first, comfort is also somewhat important. If a child is constantly pushing with their feet to try and create some leg room, it’s not going to be so safe if they happen to adjust the belt and their seat becomes loose.
    Back in the early 80′s (before seatbelt/carseat laws), I was in an accident with two children in the car-someone ran out in front of me while I was travelling about 50 mph. The children came out without a scratch, as did I. My front-seat passenger hit her knee on the glove box and bruised it. The worst injury in the accident was a toss-up between the two cars-they were both totalled. The children? They hit the back of the front seat and got scared, but they were just fine.
    In short; I don’t disagree with carseat rules, but I do think the government is starting to get a little out of control.

  138. by Julie

    On April 9, 2012 at 12:27 am

    This isnt something that all parents are able to do, rear facing implies safety, but what about children who are sigficantly larger than most children their age? My oldest son(will be 3 next month) was 38″ and 42 lbs when he turned 2(now 52 lbs and 42 1/2″) He was not only NOT rear facing he was in a high back booster. My youngest son will be 1 in less than a wk and he’s 32″ and 28 lbs. He sin a rear facing toddler seat with no leg room at all. Is it not just as dangerous to have their little legs scrunched up to their chest should an accident occur?!

  139. by Lara

    On April 9, 2012 at 8:25 am

    So I get that up until 2 children might be safer. But honestly when I’m driving 7-1/2 hours to my in-laws I will not keep my 2 yr old facing the boring back of a seat, all scrunched up and uncomfortable. My son is small for his age, he’s still in 18 mo clothes and he’s 26 mo old, but still he needs stimulation and not the gray vehicle seat. I don’t care if I’m just running to the store. By 2 they’re running talking eating normal people food, they’re mini adults in training. Now booster seats, I’m all about, my daughter is 6 and she’ll be in a booster until she’s at least 8 no less.

  140. by Lori W.

    On April 9, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I appreciated the article. I do wish that you would have talked more about why it is important to have a child rear facing because readers might want to know that the bucket or back of the seat cushions the child and absorbs the “blow” of the impact in a car accident when the child is rear facing and usually cradles the baby in a safe way. If the child is front facing the safety straps are what holds the child into the seat. Upon impact, the child is thrust forward causing injuries, sometime severe internal injuries. If you picture that in your mind you can visualize how much safer the child is, hence the suggestion of keeping the child rear facing for as long as possible.

  141. by Frustrated

    On April 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I’m soooo tired of this car seat debate. The “experts” seem to change the rules with the change of seasons. Listening to all of this is enough to make us all feel like bad parents. I for one will be doing what I think is best for MY child and will not be influenced by all of the critical remarks by those who need someone else to do their thinking for them. Use your brains people! Common sense can go a LONG way!

  142. by Steph

    On April 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

    @ michael Kress: a quick question about a related subject: i’ve read that it is not recommended that parents use mirrors which would come between the child/carseat and the back of the seat in the event of an accident (as i understand it, the carseats are designed to lever at a 90 degree angle into the back seat to protect the child) due to the possibility of injury. This prohibition would also apply to accessories that affix to the top of the carseat. would it be possible to verify best practice? thanks!

  143. by Sara

    On April 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    While I appreciate the AAP trying to keep our kids safe. I think some of the recommendations go a little too far. Why are we and our children suffering because of other’s carelessness. Stop using your cell phones. Really what is more important, you child’s safety or your phone call/text. Stop speeding, it’s not a race. Stop being a distracted driver. If people would pay attention to what they are doing, there would be less collisions and less children going to the hospital. Also if car companys would stop putting in more technology in their cars, making them even more distracting, maybe they could do something about their seatbelts so we don’t have to continually spend money on new booster seats for our children. And they would be more safe in the car and not have to be in a booster seat in middle school or high school. Honestly, that age is hard enough, do we have to humiliate them even more.

  144. by Taryn

    On April 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe the ignorance of some of these comments… 2months old and too big for INFANT carrier..Doubt that, so you turned your 2month old FRONT FACING?? 1. That is ILLEGAL 2. what is so ridiculous about keeping your child as SAFE AS POSSIBLE?!?! My son is 16 months and has been in the 98% of height and weight since day 1 (he was 3 weeks premature and weighed 8lbs 12oz) he is VERY comfortably rear facing. I would rather have a cast on his broken leg than turn him around front facing and potentially put him in a casket. If you child can fit her leg in between the back of the seat and the car seat to break her leg then you installed the car seat INCORRECTLY!! DO NOT AND I REPEAT DO NOT ask a police officer or a firefighter to check your carseat, they are not qualified carseat technicians and wouldn’t know if it is installed correctly. Find a car seat technician near you and ask for help. People are still rear facing 5, 6, and 7 year olds so your 1 and 2 year olds are NOT to big to rear face safely. Rear facing is 500x safer than front facing.

  145. by Taryn

    On April 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Might I add, check your car seat height and weight requirements and keep them rear facing until they meet the GREATEST requirement THEN turn them around to the NEXT GREATEST requirement.

  146. by Tracy

    On April 9, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    My son was well over two before we turned him forward facing. He is tall and his legs were slightly bent when he sat in his seat rear-facing. But, in the event of an accident, I prefer that he have a broken leg than a neck or spine injury. Kids are more flexible and can stay in some positions that we as adults can’t. It was still a “milestone” when we turned his seat around, it just happened after 2. My 5 year old is still in his 5 point harness as he still has 20 lbs and at least 3-5 inches in torso height to go before he maxes out of it.

    Bottom line – What does it hurt to keep them rear-facing or harnessed or boostered longer? Nothing really. What could it hurt if you don’t? These are my babies – I’m going to do my best to keep them the safest that I can.

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    On October 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm

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    On October 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm

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