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Why Experts Recommend Extended Rear-Facing Car Seats for Toddlers
As a parent, your childâs safety is paramount. When it comes to travel safety, experts recommend extended rear-facing car seats for toddlers. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration all recommend using rear-facing car seats for as long as possible.
What Is Extended Rear-Facing?
Extended rear-facing refers to the practice of using rear-facing car seats for children beyond the age of two years. Some car seats can accommodate children up to 50 or 60 pounds and 4-5 years of age. Conventional wisdom used to be to switch children to forward-facing car seats as soon as they turned two. However, ongoing research now shows that extended rear-facing ( Discover the Revolutionary Benefits of Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seats ) can increase the safety of young children in a car accident.
Why Is Extended Rear-Facing Recommended by Experts?
During a car accident, the motion of the vehicle can cause forward-facing children to be thrown forward with tremendous force, resulting in head and spinal cord injuries. A rear-facing car seat ( 5 Shocking Facts About Extended Rear-Facing Guidelines Every Parent Should Know ) cradles the childâs head, neck, and spine, reducing the risk of these injuries. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, rear-facing car seats are five times safer than forward-facing seats for children under two years of age.
When Is It Safe to Switch to Forward-Facing?
Experts agree that it is safest to keep children in rear-facing car seats until they have outgrown the maximum height or weight limits as specified by the car seat manufacturer. Once your child reaches the maximum weight or height limit, you may safely switch to a forward-facing car seat.
What Should You Look for in an Extended Rear-Facing Car Seat?
When shopping for an extended rear-facing car seat, you should consider the following factors:
- The weight and height limits of the car seat
- The ease of installation and use
- The quality of the construction
- The features, such as a five-point harness and an adjustable headrest
Extended rear-facing car seats are a safer option for toddlers. By cradling the childâs head, neck, and spine, they reduce the risk of head and spinal cord injuries during a car accident. If your child has not yet outgrown the maximum weight or height limit of their rear-facing car seat, it is recommended that you continue to use it until they do. When shopping for an extended rear-facing car seat, look for one with appropriate weight and height limits, ease of installation and use, and high-quality construction.
Extended Rear-Facing Car Seats FAQ
What are extended rear-facing car seats?
Extended rear-facing car seats are car seats designed to allow children to continue riding in a rear-facing position beyond the age of two years old. These seats are typically able to accommodate children up to 40 or 50 pounds, depending on the model.
Why are extended rear-facing car seats important?
Extended rear-facing car seats are important because they provide increased protection for a child’s head, neck, and spine in the event of a crash. In a rear-facing position, the car seat cradles the child’s head and neck and distributes crash forces across a larger area of the body. This can significantly reduce the risk of serious head and spinal injuries.
What age should a child switch to a forward-facing car seat?
It is recommended that children remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the highest weight and height allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. This is typically between 40 and 50 pounds, but can vary depending on the model. Once a child reaches the maximum limit, they should switch to a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
Can a child’s legs be cramped when riding in an extended rear-facing car seat?
It is common for parents to worry about their child’s legs being cramped when riding in an extended rear-facing car seat. However, it is important to remember that children are typically comfortable and have enough legroom in these seats. In fact, studies have shown that children often prefer to ride in a rear-facing position because it is more comfortable for them.
Are extended rear-facing car seats more expensive than regular car seats?
Extended rear-facing car seats can be more expensive than regular car seats, but the price can vary greatly depending on the model and brand. However, it is important to remember that the increased safety benefits of an extended rear-facing car seat may outweigh the cost differences.
Are there any special installation requirements for extended rear-facing car seats?
Extended rear-facing car seats should be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and with the vehicle’s seat belt or LATCH system. It is important to ensure that the car seat is tightly secured and that the child is properly strapped into the seat. Some extended rear-facing car seats also require additional support through the use of a tether, which should be attached to the car’s designated tether anchor.
Can any car accommodate an extended rear-facing car seat?
Most cars can accommodate an extended rear-facing car seat, but it is important to check the dimensions of both the car seat and the car’s backseat before purchasing. Some car seats may not fit well in certain models of cars, so it is important to do research before making a purchase.
What should I look for when choosing an extended rear-facing car seat?
When choosing an extended rear-facing car seat, it is important to consider the weight and height limits of the seat, the dimensions of both the seat and your car, and the ease of use and installation. You may also want to consider things like the material of the seat cover and the availability of additional safety features ( More about safity features ) such as a built-in anti-rebound bar.
Can extended rear-facing car seats be used on airplanes?
Many extended rear-facing car seats can be used on airplanes, but it is important to check with the airline before traveling. Some airlines have specific rules regarding car seats and may require that you purchase an extra airplane ( Car Seats on Airplanes ) seat for your child’s car seat.
How long should a child remain in a car seat?
Children should remain in a car seat with a harness for as long as possible, until they reach the maximum weight and height allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. Once they exceed these limits, they should switch to a booster seat ( Shocking Booster Seat Secrets Parents Need to Know ) until they are tall enough to use a seat belt alone.
Is it safe for a child to ride in the front seat of a car?
No, it is not safe for a child to ride in the front seat of a car. Children under the age of 13 should always ride in the back seat of a car, and should be properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat until they are tall enough to use a seat belt alone.
What should I do if I am in a car accident while my child is in an extended rear-facing car seat?
If you are in a car accident while your child is in an extended rear-facing car seat, it is important to replace the car seat regardless of whether or not it appears to be damaged. Car seats are designed to absorb crash forces, and even a minor impact can compromise their effectiveness. Contact your car seat manufacturer for guidance on how to proceed.
Recommended Extended Rear-Facing Car Seats and Relevant Products
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
This car seat has an extendable panel that provides up to 5 inches of additional legroom for your child to sit comfortably in the rear-facing position for longer. It also comes with a 10-position headrest and easy-to-read level indicator for proper installation.
Diono Radian 3RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
This car seat can be used in the rear-facing position for children up to 45 pounds and up to 57 inches tall. It also has a steel frame and reinforced sidewalls for enhanced safety. It is also designed to fit three across in most mid-size vehicles.
Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
This car seat has a ClickTight installation system that makes it easy to install securely with just a few clicks. It also has a 14-position harness and 2-position buckle for the perfect fit as your child grows. It can be used in rear-facing mode for children up to 40 pounds.
Clek Fllo Convertible Car Seat
This car seat can be used in the rear-facing position for children up to 50 pounds and has a narrow design that allows for three-across seating in most vehicles. It also has a patented energy-absorbing crumple technology to reduce the forces transmitted to your child in the event of a collision.
Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat
This car seat has a nine-position ReclineSure leveling system and a SuperCinch LATCH tightener for easy and secure installation in the rear-facing position. It also has a zip-off knit fabric cover that can be easily removed for cleaning. It is recommended for children up to 50 pounds in the rear-facing position.
Summer Infant Elite DuoMat for Car Seat
This car seat mat is designed to protect your vehicle’s upholstery from scratches and stains caused by car seats. It has a high-density foam and dual layer construction for added durability. It also has a handy organizer pocket for storage of toys and other essentials.
Diono Ultra Mat Full-Size Seat Protector
This seat protector is designed to protect your vehicle’s upholstery from spills, scratches and compression damage caused by car seats. It has a non-slip bottom for added stability and a raised edge to catch spills and crumbs. It is also made of waterproof materials for easy cleaning.
Brica Seat Guardian Car Seat Protector
This car seat protector is designed to protect your vehicle’s upholstery from spills, scratches and compression damage caused by car seats. It has dual grip traction technology to prevent slipping and a color-safe construction that won’t bleed onto upholstery. It is also machine washable for easy cleaning.
Safety 1st Deluxe Sit Snack and Go Convertible Booster Seat
This booster seat can be used in the rear-facing position for infants and in the forward-facing position for older children. It also has a built-in snack tray and cup holder for convenience and the seat pad can be easily removed and machine washed.
The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn to Toddler Tub
This bathtub is designed with a deep ergonomic design that holds your baby securely in the tub. It also has a mesh sling and padded headrest for added comfort and support. It can be used from newborn to toddler stages and is easy to clean.
Pros&Cons of Extended Rear-Facing Car Seats
- Pro: Increased Safety
- Con: Limited Leg Room
- Pro: Longer Use
- Con: Installation Challenges
- Pro: Comfortable and Supportive
- Con: Limited Visibility
- Pro: Peace of Mind
- Con: Limited Options
- Pro: Lower Risk of Injury
- Con: Limited Tilt Angles
Extended rear-facing car seats have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of injury in the event of a car accident. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should remain in rear-facing car seats until at least the age of 2 or until they reach the maximum weight limit for their specific car seat model. This is because rear-facing car seats provide better protection for a child’s head, neck, and spine in the event of a crash.
Extended rear-facing car seats can be uncomfortable for older toddlers and preschoolers who may have less leg room than they would in a forward-facing car seat. However, many car seat manufacturers have designed seats with extended leg room to address this issue.
Extended rear-facing car seats can often be used for a longer period of time than a forward-facing car seat. This means that parents may not have to purchase a new car seat as quickly, saving them money in the long run.
Installing an extended rear-facing car seat can be more challenging than a forward-facing car seat due to their larger size. It is important to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the seat is installed correctly and securely.
Extended rear-facing car seats are designed to provide a comfortable and supportive seat for young children. They often have padded headrests and cushions to provide additional support and comfort during long car rides.
With a rear-facing car seat, the child is facing backwards and may be more difficult to see in the rearview mirror. This can make it challenging for parents to monitor their child during car rides.
Choosing to use an extended rear-facing car seat can provide peace of mind for parents knowing that their child is riding in the safest possible car seat. It can also help parents feel more confident and secure while driving.
While there are many different types of forward-facing car seats available, there are fewer options for extended rear-facing car seats. This can make it more difficult for parents to find a seat that fits their child’s needs and budget.
Children who ride in rear-facing car seats have a significantly lower risk of injury in the event of a car accident. This can provide parents with peace of mind and help keep their child safe on the road.
Some extended rear-facing car seats have limited tilt angles, which can make it difficult to properly position the car seat in certain vehicles. It is important to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the car seat is installed properly.