The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants should ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. They should remain rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. At a minimum, children should ride rear-facing until they have reached at least 1 year of age and weigh at least 20 pounds. Now pediatricians are actually recommending children stay rear-facing until at least 18 months if possible.
When children reach the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer of their infant-only seat, they should continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible seat.
- Are small and have carrying handles (and sometimes come as part of a stroller system).
- Are used only for travel (not for positioning outside the vehicle).
- Are used for infants up to 22 to 35 pounds, depending on the model.
- May come with a base that can be left in the car. The seat clicks into and out of the base so you don’t have to install the seat each time you use it. Parents can buy more than one base for additional vehicles.
Q: What if my baby weighs more than 20 pounds but is not yet 1 year old?
A: Use a seat that can be used rear-facing to higher weights and keep your baby rear-facing as long as possible into the second year of life.
Q: What do I do if my baby slouches down or to the side in his car safety seat?
A: Blanket rolls may be placed on both sides of the infant and a small diaper or blanket between the crotch strap and the infant. Do not place padding under or behind the infant or use any sort of car safety seat insert unless it came with the seat or was made by the manufacturer of the seat.
Q: Can I adjust the straps when my baby is wearing thicker clothing, like in the winter?
A: Yes, but make sure the harnesses are still snug. Also remember to tighten the straps again after the thicker clothes are no longer needed. Dress your baby in thinner layers instead of a bulky coat or snowsuit, and tuck a blanket around your baby over the buckled harness straps if needed. Similar to My Carseat Blankie.
Q: Are rear-facing convertible seats OK to use for preemies?A: Premature infants should be tested while still in the hospital to make sure they can ride safely in a reclined position. Babies who need to lie flat during travel should ride in a crash-tested car bed. Very small infants who can ride safely in a reclined position usually fit better in infant-only seats; however, if you need to use a convertible seat, choose one without a tray-shield harness. The shields often are too big and too far from the body to fit correctly and the child’s face could hit the shield in a crash.
You can read more on HealthyChilren.org