What exciting news this is!!! The American Academy of Pediatrics has officially said we should keep children rear facing until they are 2. It is suggested that we keep kids rear facing until 2 as a minimum, however, best to keep them rear facing until they reach the rear facing limits of the child restraint. If your child outgrows the rear facing weight of your car seat before their 2nd birthday, it is time to look at another seat that has a higher rear facing limit. Research has shown that children are 5 times safer rear facing than they are forward facing. Rear facing helps allow for the restraint system to absorb the crash forces, not the child. In the event of an accident, children are cradled into the seat to help protect them and reduce their injury.
There are more seats on the market today with rear facing limits of 35lbs and higher. Some seats even rear face up to 40lbs. and 45lbs. These seats will help you reach the 2 year mark and higher with ease.
Children that are forward facing already, and are within the weight limits to continue rear facing should be turned back around. If your child is rear facing, continue to keep them rear facing until they reach the limits of their restraint.
When your child outgrows this limit to rear face and you turn them around, harnessing seats go as high as 85lbs. It is just as important to harness them for longer, just as it is to rear face them longer. We suggest harnessing them until you no longer can. Depending on the child this can get you to 8 years old or even more with a 5 point restraint. Harnessing them helps reduce the crash forces off them, eliminates the question of if the seat belt is properly positioned on the child, and if they are ready for it.
Booster seats are for big kids. Children from roughly 7 years old up to as much as 12 even. It is important to make sure your child can sit with their knees bent properly over the edge of the seat, the belt lays correctly over their hips, the shoulder belt lays properly across their shoulder, and they can sit where they need to be without moving around. They must also be 4'9".
This is extremely exciting news for the Kyle David Miller Foundation. We are very pleased to see these new statements being released and that the A.A.P. is helping change a trend in car seat safety.
I always remind people that children are your most precious cargo. You don't know how well the people around you are at controlling their vehicles, so take the steps ahead of time. Head off excess injuries before you're faced with an accident and you can't change things anymore - rear face your children until you can't, harness them until they are 7 and 8 years old, and then booster them until they can truly sit without a booster.