The American Academy of Pediatrics says, "All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear facing car seat until they are 2 of age or until they reach the highest height or weight allowed by their car seat's maufacturer."
Why is this the recommendation?
Because it's safer. Check out the video.
* When a child is forward facing, there is a lot of stress on their neck in a crash. The weight of the child's head in a crash causes the spinal column to stretch (which it is not meant to do). It can tear causing internal decapitation.
* Rear facing seats do a great job at protection children because the seat absorbs the crash and the head and neck are kept in alignment.
* Rear end collisions are less frequent than front in collisions and occur at lower speeds.
* A forward-facing child under 2 years old is 4 times MORE likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash.
Layne stayed rear facing until she was 3 1/2 and Grayson is still rear facing.
So, when do you turn them around?
If they are within 1 inch of the top of the car seat.
If they are at the maximum weight for rear facing
Which leads me to my next point...
Car Seat Selection
We chose Britax car seats-we have two Roundabouts and three Marathons. At the time, they were the top safety rated. And, they are approved to higher maximum height and weigh limits rear facing and forward facing.
Buying a new seat? Check out the link below.
If the seats aren't installed right, it won't matter if they are forward facing or rear facing. Many local fire departments will check for proper installation.
Then what? What about forward facing and boosters?
Many people say, "Well, my other kids turned around at 1 yr old and they were fine." But your other kids weren't in a car crash. And you never know. Better safe than sorry.
i-Village Car Seat message Board
AAP Car Seat Guide (Click view Sample for the PDF version)
The Car Seat Lady