Rear-Facing Safety Seats
- Infants and toddlers should ride rear facing until they are at least 2 years of age and/or up to the maximum height/weight limits of a convertible safety seat (usually around 35+ lbs & 34+ in.).
- Rear-facing safety seats should never be placed in the front seat of vehicles with passenger air bags.
- Rear-facing child safety seats are designed to recline at an angle of no more than 45 degrees.
- Harness straps should be at or below the shoulders.
- Harness straps should be snug (no slack) & the harness retainer clip should be at armpit level.
Which child safety seats go rear-facing?
Infant seats: For newborns and infants up to 22, 30 or 35 pounds--weight limit depends on the model of the seat. (See Below for infant-only seat installation checklist)
Convertible seats: Rear-facing for babies and toddlers up to 30 or 35 pounds and then forward-facing for kids up to 40 pounds or more.
How does a child safety seat fit a preemie?
- Low shoulder strap slot. The closer the shoulder strap slots are to the baby's shoulders, the better. It is best to have the straps start BELOW the baby's shoulders when the baby is rear-facing. With preemies and even newborns, it is usually not possible to have the straps start below the shoulders, but getting a seat where the strap slot is as close as possible is important.
- Close crotch buckle position
- Small, short, and narrow chest clip. On some seats, the clip is so big that it pushes under the baby's chin. On other seats the clip is so wide that it pushes the straps so far apart that they fall off the baby's shoulders.
- Narrow spacing between hip straps, on a 5-point harness seat.