Is Your 1-Year-Old in the Right Car Seat? Are You Sure?

A recommendation from Consumer Reports says babies older than 1 should be moved from infant car seats to rear-facing convertible seats.
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One of the things I've learned since becoming a parent is that everyone draws the lines in different places when it comes to raising their kids.

For example, I may have been one of the first parents to cave and buy my kid an iPhone, but when she was younger, I was the last to let her move from a rear-facing infant car seat to a convertible version because I liked the convenient, detachable model.

Now, however, comes the news that Consumer Reports is urging parents to move their children out of detachable carriers by the time they turn 1, and into rear-facing convertible seats. (The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends all children be in rear-facing seats until the age of 2.)

According to Consumer Reports, babies are more likely to suffer head injuries when they're in rear-facing infant car seats. The agency crash-tested both infant and rear-facing convertible seats using a 22-pound dummy to represent a 1-year-old child. With more than half the infant seats, the dummy's head hit the simulated front-seat back. But in 24 of the 25 rear-facing convertible seats, it did not.

Consumer Reports said it's the angle of the infant seat that allows the baby to hit his or her head off the front seat in the event of a crash. The rear-facing convertible car seats sit more upright, however, keeping the baby more secure.

Install you car seat safely and easily.

So what's the big takeaway?

Consumer Reports says there are some key things to remember:

  • Height matters. Kids will likely outgrow a seat height-wise, before reaching the weight limit. So just because your child can stay in an infant seat until she weighs 30 pounds doesn't mean she should.
  • Make the switch now. To take advantage of a rear-facing convertible seat's added potential for head protection, CR advises that if your child has not already outgrown her infant seat, you should make the transition no later than the age of 1.
  • Safety outweighs inconvenience. Losing the convenience of a detachable car seat is a bummer. But it's a small price to pay to keep your baby safe.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.

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