September 6, 2018 – As more information about children and automobile safety is gathered and analyzed, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is becoming more convinced that rear-facing is the safest seating position for a child riding in a car.
— Raleigh Children (@RaleighChildren) September 5, 2018
Prior to 2011, the recommended age to transition from a rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat was 12 months old. The AAP in 2011 moved that recommendation to 24 months.
That same group – in an effort to make recommendations based on the best and most up-to-date information available – continues to monitor crash safety data and now is recommending that children ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible – up to the limits of their car safety seat.
Most rear-facing car seats have a maximum rear-facing weight in the 30 pound range – the average weight of a 3-year old. Convertible car seats – seats that can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing – have a maximum rear-facing weight in the 40+ pound range – the average weight of a 5 year old. This new information will therefore include virtually all children under 2 years of age and most children up to age 4.
- AAP News summary article that is referenced above
- The AAP updated policy statement – Child Passenger Safety
- Car seat product listing – a 2018 listing from HealthyChildren.org that includes a comprehensive car seat listing that includes maximum height and weight limits – the new recommendation is based on those numbers (you can also find this information in the handbook that came with your car safety seat).