CARS.COM — Parents have a lot of decisions to make from the mundane (Huggies or Pampers?) to the major (public or private school?). Choosing the right car seat can mean life or death in a car accident. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in a rear-facing seat until age 2 or until they outgrow the weight and height limits of their seat. My twins just turned 2 and they will likely be rear-facing for another year, not only because they’re pint-sizers, but also because that’s their best chance of survival in a crash.
“The age-2 recommendation is not an absolute but, rather, a guideline to help caregivers decide when to make the transition. Smaller children will benefit from remaining rear-facing longer, while other children may reach the maximum height or weight before 2 years of age,” said Clare Pfotenhauer, child passenger safety coordinator at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Ill.
According to AAP studies, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 4 and older, and for every fatality, roughly 18 children are hospitalized and more than 400 are seriously injured. Most serious injuries stem from spine and neck trauma — fragile, undeveloped body parts that are better protected by a rear-facing car seat.
“A rear-facing child-safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body,” Dr. Dennis Durbin, one of the lead authors of an AAP report, said in a statement.