In most states, babies are required to ride with their car seats facing the rear of the car until around age two – but is that too young to turn them?
According to certified child safety technician Jennifer Beall Saxton, the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that you keep your child rear-facing until age two, or until they exceed the height and weight limits of their seat.
However, even when it’s legal to turn the seat forward, she notes, “It’s five times safer to stay rear-facing, because the head and neck and spine haven’t fully developed in small children. So when they’re forward-facing they’re more susceptible to severe injuries or death in a car accident.”
Breast Surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk wonders about older kids. She has three six-year-olds, and all of their peers are already using booster seats. Is it safer to keep them in their five-point-restraint seats, or are they too old for that?
“A five-point harness is much safer than just the seatbelt,” says Jennifer. “We recommend staying in that five-point harness as long as possible, because it’s going to diffuse the forces of a car accident.”
ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork tells Jennifer, “We applaud you for what you do.” He urges parents to learn the laws around child car seats in their states.