The AAP recently updated its car seat safety guidelines in accordance with the latest research.
The biggest change? They’re no longer based on age.
The AAP now recommends that kids should stay rear-facing until they reach the maximum height or weight that the car seat manufacturer allows. Most convertible car seats have rear-facing weight limits up to at least 40 pounds. For many children, that happens well beyond their second birthdays.
Why keep them rear-facing for so long? In a crash, the car seat’s hard shell supports the child’s head, neck, and spine, and the car seat absorbs most of the impact. When the child is forward-facing, however, the harness straps restrain the body, but the head can get thrown forward, which can cause injuries to the head and spine.
Here are some more ways you can help protect your child in the car: