Using Rear Facing Only Car Seats Safely

Rear facing only car seats offer quite a lot when it comes to convenience.  These types of car seats typically include two parts — a base that remains installed in the vehicle and an infant carrier portion that easily snaps in and out of the base.  Many caregivers like this type of car seat for newborns and younger babies because it makes bringing the baby to and from the vehicle fairly easy. We’ll highlight some of the common challenges and suggest ways to use your child’s rear facing only car seat safely.

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Tales from the School Dropoff Line

Our daughter’s elementary school was a place where parents would park their cars and then walk children into school. However, they recently opened an optional dropoff line. I’m grateful that it’s optional because some days, getting my kiddo out of the car takes quite a while. There are stray Lego pieces to grab, snacks to throw into her backpack, and the not-that-rare need to slither out of her booster, then ask for help when she’s stuck in an unwieldy position. So we need that time.

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How much Headroom? A Height Comparison of Rear Facing Convertible Car Seats

Rear facing is the safest way for kids to ride in the car, no doubt about it. Ideally, kids should ride rear facing until they are 3-4 years old. Most convertible car seats on the market now will easily fit the average 3-year-old rear facing, however, all seats are not created equal in terms of height room. A rear facing seat is generally outgrown when the child’s head is 1″ from the top of the shell or they reach a stated height limit (of course, there are exceptions to both these rules; it’s important to follow the instructions for your specific seat) so the height of the shell is an important number to take into consideration.

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Why Rear Facing: the Science Junkie’s Guide

If you’re looking for just the facts about rear facing versus forward facing, you’ve come to the right place. There are multiple factors involved in this discussion; the unique physiology of a young toddler combined with the type of force in the most severe crashes adds up to the perfect storm that puts kids at significant risk if they are forward facing too early.

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Rear Facing Car Seat Myths Busted

It’s hopefully common knowledge now that rear facing in the car is the safest way for toddlers to ride. As a child passenger safety technician, I’ve heard all the reasons that parents choose to forward face too early, and I’d like to provide some answers to those questions here. Hopefully, this guide will help keep your child rear facing as long as possible!

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