How Long Should A Child Be Rear Facing?

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Parents are responsible for taking care of their children and keeping them safe, especially on a car ride. There have been enormous amounts of accidents every year caused by simple mistakes and rules that parents failed to follow. Safety should always be the number one priority when driving in a vehicle with your child.

You must be wondering, how long should my kid ride rear facing? The answer is simple, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has endorsed keeping children rear facing for up to two years but the law has changed. Now it is recommended to keep your child rear facing for as long as possible.

The main reason this is recommended is to prevent life-threatening injuries as it might minimize damage to some extent, and you will most definitely be thankful for making your child sit rear-faced.

In this article, I will be explaining further the importance of making your child sit rear facing.

The Importance Of Rear Facing Car Seat For Your Children

As mentioned earlier, I will now focus on discussing the article’s main body, which is the importance of safety for your children when using a rear-facing convertible seat, as the information will be valuable for you.

Facts About Rear Facing

As a parent, you must keep your child safe when you are driving. It is stated that every year, there are thousands of children who get injured or killed during car accidents, and that can be due to the parents neglecting proper safety procedures to follow.

You need to know these car safety seats as they can protect your child from serious incidents. It is also important for you to consider choosing the proper convertible seat according to your child’s age, weight and height so they can ride comfortably.

Installation Of Seats

As you know, the installation process is one of the most important as different cars have different manual instructions and require alternative procedures. You need to read both the convertible seats and your vehicle manual instructions to have a better understanding.

You should secure the seat as tightly as possible and not more than 1 inch of fluctuation from side to side or front and back. This is because if the seat is loose, it might come off easily during a crash.

Kids Height And Weight

It is important for you to note that lower anchors are considered to hold a maximum weight of 65 pounds which adds to the safety of the convertible seat and your child. Moreover, researchers say that kids below the age of 13 should ride in the middle seat as it is the safest place to prevent serious injuries from occurring.

In addition to that, it is stated that it is less likely for your child to get leg injuries if facing the rear, even if your child’s legs are facing the back of the car seat.

Appropriate Clothing

As stated by the AAP, to prevent serious injuries, it is recommended that kids wear thinner clothes because thicker clothes can leave the buckle straps too loose, which can increase the chances of serious injuries in crashes and so on.

Moreover, it is also recommended to place some clothes on both sides of an infant’s seat, so they do not slouch and sit comfortably.

How Is Rear Facing Safe?

Through my research and watching some videos online, I have observed that children who sit rear-faced are safer. Kids sitting while facing the rear will be saved from severe head, neck, and spine injuries.

This is because the car seat will absorb some of the power of the crash and pass the remaining on the head, neck, and back equally. This will prevent serious internal and external injuries from happening.

Prevent Leg Injuries

Children are smart and flexible enough to understand and know what they must do in a crash in order to prevent any leg injuries from happening. They can raise or roll up their legs on the seat to prevent injuries if they have enough leg space.

Moreover, there hasn’t been any evidence that proves whether a child can get leg injuries from rear-facing car seats, so this is just another great reason why rear-facing convertible car seats are way better for your child.

Lastly, it is also stated that children sitting rear-facing are less likely to break their legs compared to children sitting forward facing.

Height And Weight

If you are using a convertible or an all-in-one seat, then you should be aware that lower anchors are evaluated to uphold the maximum weight of 65 pounds of a child. You should keep this in mind before purchasing rear-facing seats as it adds to the safety of your child and the car.

In addition to that, different companies’ manufactures seats differently as most will allow rear-facing seat up to 40-50 pounds that will fit children between the ages of 4-5, while for infants, it is highly allowed up to 40 pounds.

It is your duty as parents to always check for convertible seats with rear facing weight limit and a tall shell for the comfort and safety of your child.

Using The Right Seat

Another fact highlighted by AAP that is important for you to know is that the possibility of death or injuries is diminished by 70 percent if the parent utilizes the accurate car seat for their child. As I have mentioned earlier, the chances of back injuries will be reduced in a crash with an appropriate car seat as the car moves backward with a strong force.

However, many people might also refer to using used seats, and if you are considering doing that, then there are certain things to keep in mind, such as making sure the manual instructions are provided, and the seat is not older than six years, damaged and missing any parts, has not been in a slight or a serious accident, etc.

Insecurity Of Forwarding Facing Seats

There are parents who move their kids to forward-facing seats without realizing the consequences that might follow and how dangerous it can be for a really young child. This is something that should be taken into serious consideration as it is risky and can cause serious injuries to the child.

Transitioning Too Soon

Changing the way your child sits in the car too soon will not only change their habits and most likely prefer forward facing but also cause serious injuries and also put their lives in danger. As it is stated, there are higher chances of a child dying from forward facing car seats than rear-facing.

Even though there are times kids will complain whine and even cry about sitting rear faced and not being able to see anything, it is the parent’s responsibility to make their kids understand and consider the safety regulations as their first priority.

Risk Of Deaths And Injuries

Researchers have estimated that there is an increasing number of deaths due to forward facing car seats compared to rear facing. But parents should only move their kids to forward facing until they reach the rear facing height and weight limit or if they are above the ages of 3-5.

This is mostly because a child’s bones are weaker and are building up at that early stage compared to adults. If children are sitting forward facing during a high-speed crash they are likely to break their spinal cords due to the forces that will jerk their body moving forward.

They are also likely to have broken legs or injuries because of the jerk moving their body to collide with the front seat forcefully.

Front Seat Forward Facing

This is one of the riskiest choices anyone can make as you are putting the life of your child in a critical situation. According to the law, kids under the age of 1-3 cannot sit in the front seat as it is not the safest choice. The AAP stated that the most secure place is to sit at the back seat in the middle and rear faces.

Children who sit at the front seat are most likely to get serious injuries. This is because if the airbags hit the chest it will not only be painful but can also risk their lives. It might also break their neck or nose due to the force.

Rear Facing For Kids Above Age 3

If you have reached this far in the article, then you are definitely aware that rear facing seats are not only for infants and toddlers but can be used by kids above the age of 3.

This is not only because they are used to sitting on it but because parents take their kids’ safety seriously. Researchers have compiled information regarding children who sit without a rear facing seat and risk their lives.

Do Not Transition

There are car seats that are manufactured for the age of 3 and above, as many companies support the statement that children should stay rear faced for as long as possible.

If parents think about transitioning their kids too early from rear to forward or boosters, it will not only confuse them but also risk their lives from traumatic injuries due to road accidents, so it is important to transition when they are ready.

Types Of Car Seats Appropriate For Your Child’s Age

The car seats allow the weight of a child up to 60 pounds but do keep in mind that different companies offer different sizes, as will be stated on the instruction manuals or at the corner of the car seats.

It is obligatory for you to check and choose the appropriate size as your child can also use it for years and grow in it until it reaches the height and weight limit.

Moreover, the appropriate car seat would be the convertible seat or all-in-one for kids above 3 as it will allow more space for your child to grow into and have leg space so they can sit comfortably.

Lastly, the reason why a bigger seat is important is that the belt should be a moderate fit for your child’s body, not too loose or too tight.

Conclusion

Overall, it is important to take this into consideration and make the right choice. It is also the parent’s responsibility to teach their children how to behave and understand the purpose of them sitting on the rear facing seat as some kids might be able to unbuckle their seat belts. The rear facing seats are quite important when it comes to kids.

I hope this article helps you understand how long rear facing car seats can be used and how much protection they can provide for your child.