Should my child remain rear-facing or be moved
to forward facing in their child restraint?
Guidelines for Rear-Facing/Forward-Facing provided by the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program (NHTSA):
- Always check the child restraint manufacturer's instructions for upper and lower weight/height limits.
- At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until 1 year of age and at least 20 pounds. Experts recommend that children remain rear-facing until the age of 2 if possible. Check your owner's manual to make sure they have reached the maximum height and weight recommended for the model.
- Parents may wonder if legs are at risk for injury. Children commonly sit with their legs crossed or resting on the back of the vehicle seat. Risk of injury to legs in a crash is low, and injuries to the lower extremity are usually less severe with fewer long-term complications than injuries to the head, neck, or spine, which occur more commonly when a child is seated in the forward-facing position.
- Because the rear-facing position is safest, children should ride rear facing as long as possible (but never exceed the manufacturer's weight and height limits).
- Older children with poor head control who are within height and weight requirements of a child restraint benefit from staying rear facing longer.
Why Children Should Travel Rear-Facing