On Sept 26 the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a short piece by Marie McCullough called “Keep child seat facing rearward.” The article notified readers that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had, five months earlier, revised its guidelines for car seat safety. The organization is urging parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats for longer than previously suggested.
The AAP’s “Guide for Families 2011” doubles their earlier age recommendation when it says “All infants should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.”
Furthermore, it is suggested that a toddler under the age of 2 who exceeds the recommended weight (once 20 pounds, now roughly 30-35 pounds) of a rear-facing car seat can move to a forward-facing car seat.
It is also now suggested that all children wear a harness in their car seats until age 4.
There are however issues of comfort to take into consideration. Some growing toddlers might begin to feel cramped in a rear-facing seat. This discomfort is something parents must weigh against statistics like one presented by CNN: “Children under 2 are 75% less likely to die or to be injured in a crash if they are rear-facing.”