In this article we will tell you whether it is safe for you to move your child to the forward facing position. We will give you the opinion of the top child safety organizations related to car seats.
How Safe Are Forward Facing Car Seats?
The safety of forward facing car seats vary depending on the age of the child and the particular car seat. If you are specifically looking to move to the forward facing position a little early, then you should specifically look for a car seat that’s designed with added side impact and head protection.
What Age Should My Child Face Forward?
The most popular recommendation is for kids to sit in the rear facing position for as long as their seat will allow. If your baby is in an infant car seat, then the recommendation is to move to a rear facing convertible until your child reaches either the height or weight limits for that particular seat. Only then is it recommended moving the car seat to the forward facing position.
What Do The Experts Recommend?
The AAP, NHTSA, and Consumer Reports all suggest that a child stays in the rear facing position for as long as possible. That doesn’t mean that if you have a rear-facing infant car seat that your child has outgrown that you go out and find a forward facing car seat with a low enough weight and height requirement for a child under 2 to use.
They want you to buy another rear-facing seat.
A convertible that will allow your child to stay in the rear facing position for as long as possible.
At one point the recommendation was for your kid to sit in the rear-acing position until “at least 2 years old”, but many parents assumed that meant they should switch their kid out of the rear facing position at 2 years old. So instead they say that the child should stay in the rear facing position for as long as possible.
When your child moves to the forward facing position, the NHTSA recommends that you always use a tether when the car seat is facing forward. Doesn’t matter if the car seat is using the lower anchors or the seat belt, always use a tether unless it is prohibited by the car seat or vehicle manufacturer.
A 2017 study done in the Journal of Pediatrics stated that less than 63 percent of the parents surveyed used a rear-facing car seat for their kids under 2 years old. However, the parents who discussed with their child’s doctor the recommendations on rear-facing car seats positioned their kids rear-facing at a rate of 95%.
Reasons Why Parents Switch To Forward Facing Early
Parents who move to rear facing early often claim that the child’s legs will be bent or that they like to be able to see their child, but I think the real reason a parent would be so eager to face their child forward is because the child is crying and screaming constantly when in the rear facing position and the parent just doesn’t want to deal with that level of distraction while on the road. Some kids just refuse to sit rear-facing no matter what.
A rear-facing car seat spreads out the force of the crash in a more even manner giving your child a better chance of surviving a crash. It also keeps the head from moving too much during a crash and causing whiplash. It also keeps the child’s limbs better protected.
It’s better to have your child in the rear facing position for as long as possible, but once your child reaches a certain age, the forward facing position is safe enough just as long as you use a tether when in that position and pick the right car seat.