Calling All Extended Rear-Facing Parents

Updated on August 11, 2011
S.R. asks from Clinton, MO
10 answers

When and how did you make the decision to turn your little one around? Our daughter is 25.5 months old, my husband thinks it is getting close to the time we need to turn her forward facing. I am actually contemplating it, but am not sold on the idea yet. She is still comfortable, within the height and weight limits for her seat, and doesn't seem to mind being rear-facing unlike her older brother. When do you know when the right time is?

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answers from Boston on

If she doesn't mind, then keep going until she reaches the height or weight limit of the seat. I found that my younger kids didn't mind being rear-facing because they could see their siblings better that way. My youngest was RF until some time after his 3rd birthday (he's also still in a regular convertible car seat and not a booster even though he's 5 because he isn't 40 lbs yet).

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answers from Houston on

Apparently, until she is over the weight and height requirements of the carseat, but age limit wise the safest thing is to keep her there:

"A rear-facing car seat offers the best protection for babies and toddlers, and should be used for as long as possible, to the limits of the car seat. It is no longer recommended to turn your baby around immediately at one year and 20 pounds, thanks to new research that shows the safety advantages of extended rear-facing. A 2007 study in the Journal of Injury Prevention showed that rear-facing toddlers under age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash. According to NHTSA, a rear-facing car seat is 71 percent safer than no restraint at all, and a forward-facing car seat is 54 percent safer than no restraint at all. Keeping your baby rear-facing to the limit of the seat is the safest choice. You can check your car seat instruction book or the labels on the car seat sides to find the rear-facing weight and height limits. "

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answers from Raleigh on

keep her RF, legs will heal if broken, neck will not........

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answers from San Francisco on

IMO if she's still happy rear facing and is within the height and weight limits, no need to rush turning her around :-). Some kids actually prefer rear facing b/c they can rest their feet/legs on the back of the vehicle seat instead of having them dangling in front of them forward facing - you can see photos here .
My twin DDs were rear facing up through 2 years and 8 months until one of them hit the rear-facing weight limit of their seats (which was only 30 lbs. - these were seats made in 2002).

Edited to add: and it may seem counterintuitive, but CPSTs have found that a child's legs are NOT endangered by remaining rear facing if their legs can touch the back seat - please see the following from

"Won't my child be uncomfortable? Where do his legs go?

Many parents have the misconception that children are uncomfortable or at risk for leg injury by having their legs up on the vehicle seat or bent when kept rear-facing. These concepts are completely incorrect. First, children are more flexible than adults so what we perceive as uncomfortable is not for children. Think about how your child sits in everyday play. Do they sit with their legs straight out in front of them? When they sit on the couch, do they purposely sit so their legs dangle out over the edge? No. In real, everyday life, toddlers and preschoolers CHOSE to sit with their legs folded up - that IS comfort to them.

Second, there is not a single documented case of children's legs, hips, etc. breaking or being injured in a crash due to longer rear-facing. There are plenty of cases of head and neck injury in forward-facing children that could have been prevented if the child had remained rear-facing. However, even if a leg or hip were broken or injured, it can be fixed. A damaged spinal cord (from forward-facing too soon) cannot be repaired and subjects the child to lifelong disability or death."
Good job keeping her RF this long!

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answers from St. Louis on

At our 1 yr checkup our doc told us that the new recommendation is 2 years old. She even realized this is sometimes impossible but to try to leave them RF as long as possible until then. So, since your little one is over 2 then I think it is okay but if she doesn't mind and you are uncomfortable with switching her then I say leave her RF. Our twins are 15 months and since we moved our 3 yr old at 13 months my hubby thinks the new recommendation is ridiculous, so I feel your pain.



answers from Phoenix on

We turned our daughter around at that age. She needed the between-the-legs strap moved out a space and her seat required it to be forward-facing in that position.


answers from St. Louis on

Not sure if anyone said this but it goes by the legs. Once your child's legs can touch the seat you should not let them sit rear facing. In an accident that can seriously hurt them. I think my kids were under a year when that happened. Yikes!



answers from Dallas on

We made the decision when my son turned 2. (about 3 months ago) He was very uncomfortable and would fuss at me, because he couldn't put his legs down. He has long legs, and I have a small car. His knees were practically in his chin. If your daughter is comfortable and isn't over the limit specifications, I don't see why she should be turned around. She will let you know when she's ready.



answers from St. Louis on

You can turn your little one around. My granddaughter is only 17 months, 21 lbs and she is now in a forward facing car seat. At 25 months it is time--otherwise if you are in a accident the child's legs will be broken by the rear facing. Go by a new seat today.



answers from Washington DC on

So far we have decided to keep DD RF. She's 28 lbs (which I know is small for a 3 yr old) and her seat goes to 35 RF. She's not in pain and we haven't had any problems adjusting her straps. If she gets upset closer to 35lbs, we will re-evaluate, but I don't see us changing it anytime soon.

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