According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the safest seat and best seat for your young child to use is a rear-facing seat.
Keep your child in a rear facing position as long as possible.
- It is important to ensure that rear-facing car seats recline at the proper angle according the car-seat manufacturers recommendation, which is usually between 30-45 degrees. If available, use the car seat’s angle indicator to help ensure your car seat is at the correct angle.
- However, our Washoe County certified car seat technicians will tell these parents to resist the urge to move your child’s car seat to a forward facing position too soon. Riding rear facing is now recommended for as long as possible, until a child reaches weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
- In the event of a crash, the seat will cradle and move with your child to reduce stress to the child’s head, neck, and spinal cord.
- As your child grows, you can have your child move from an infant rear-facing only seat, to a bigger convertible seat or a 3-in-1 seat installed in the rear-facing position.
- Another option is you can start with a convertible seat that is suitable for your child’s age and size. Transition your child to a rear facing seat and later to forward-facing, once your child outgrows the weight and height limit of the rear-facing position.
- Convertible seats and 3-in-1 seats typically have a higher weight and height limit than an infant-only seat.
- Whichever seat you choose for your infant, ensure that they remain in the rear-facing position as long as the car seat manufacturer advises.
Ensure your child’s car seat is reclined at the proper angle
- It is important that rear-facing car seats recline at a 30-45 degree angle, according to the car-seat manufacturer’s recommendation.
- This recline angle is critical for infants who are unable to lift their heads on their own.
- Having your car seat angled helps protect the child’s neck and back and keeps your child’s airway open in the event of a crash.
- In the rear-facing position, recline the car seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions or at a 30-45 degree angle.
- Most car seats designed for rear-facing positions, have built-in angle indicators or adjusters to help ensure your child is at the correct angle.
- Keep in mind that as your child grows, you might need to adjust the angle.
- Ensure that you check the car seat manual and labels for more help, and have your car seat checked by a certified technician to ensure that your car seat is installed properly.