When it comes to newborns, most parents know that a rear-facing car seat position is safest. But most parents in NZ switch to a forward-facing position before their child’s second birthday—which goes against expert recommendations. In fact, most still believe that when their child turns 1, they should turn them forward-facing.
Without truly understanding how much safer their growing toddlers will be if they remain rear-facing for longer, parents often see riding forward-facing as just one of the exciting milestones their children achieve as they enter toddlerhood.
Just how long is “as long as possible”? Some rear-facing car seat models are suitable for kids up to 50 pounds (and can be converted to forward-facing once your kid hits that limit). While many parents worry about the comfort of their kids, it’s just fine for their feet and legs to touch—and even prop up on—the vehicle’s rear seat so long as they’re within the height and weight limits. I would recommend to keep them rear-facing until the age of 2 (at least) if possible.
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