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When Should You Switch Your Rear-Facing Car Seat?


I have a confession to make: I am dying to flip my rear-facing 15-month-old around in his car seat. I am way over corkscrewing my body to give him snacks or fish around for the toy he’s dropped. I can’t stand scrunching him like an accordion to then awkwardly plop him into the seat. And I’m dying to be able to interact with him more easily.

However, despite my grumbling, I plan to keep him rear-facing until at least age 2 or when he hits 35 pounds (the maximum weight for my car seat), because research shows it’s five times safer than forward-facing. Plus, the AAP recommends keeping kids rear-facing until they hit the maximum height and weight requirement for the seat, which usually happens between 2 and 3.

When I had my daughter more than five years ago, I turned her around the time of her first birthday. She easily made the minimum weight requirement, and that’s what everyone else seemed to be doing too. But hopefully the tide is turning. “We hope that many more parents are getting the message that rear-facing is safer for their kids, but we also know that we have a long way to go in reaching everyone,” says Emily Levine, aka The Car Seat Lady.

So my son will remain rear-facing and I will remain annoyed -- but happy to know he’s as safe as he can be back there.

Parents, when did you make the switch?