Keeping your child safe during travel in the car is extremely important. The AAP recommends children remain rear facing until they exceed the car seat’s ability to be rear facing. This means, average size toddlers who are 3 and 4 years old can remain rear facing in most car seats. At a minimum we recommend for years to keep a child rear facing until at least 2 years of age, even if the laws in your region don’t require it.
You may wonder why remaining rear facing is so important- a child’s head is proportionally very large and their neck isn’t strong; this leads to serious head and neck injuries in a car accident. When a child is rear facing, their head and neck are fully supported and protected in the event of an accident.
Some parents are concerned that their child’s legs have no room when rear facing, however most kids will simply sit cross legged. Additionally, leg injuries are very rare and are much less serious than the potential spinal injury from forward facing.
When installed correctly there is less then 1 inch of horizontal movement when the car seat is pushed upon.
I recommend having your car seat professionally inspected prior to use.
Read your car’s owner’s manual to ensure you are correctly anchored to the LATCH or ANCHOR system.
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Dr. Patricia Bast was born and raised in Southern California. After earning her bachelors degree at UC Irvine, she went on to graduate medical school from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Northern California. She then returned home to Southern California and became a resident in Pediatrics at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. Dr. Bast is now raising her children and loves working part-time at a pediatric clinic, watching her patients grow and thrive.