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How long should a car seat be kept rear facing?

As a parent, you likely do everything you can to keep your children safe. This includes using the proper car seat when you are traveling in Pennsylvania. However, the recommendations about car seats seem to be changing quite a bit. You may not be completely up to date on what the rules are, especially when it comes to keeping your child rear-facing.

The general guidelines and professional opinions about car seat use come from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The most current recommendation is you should keep your child rear-facing until he or she is at least two years old. However, this does not supercede that manufacturer's recommendations. For example, a seat may not be made for a child who is over 20 pounds. If you child reaches 20 pounds before his or her second birthday, then you would need a new seat. The seat may also be designed to only offer protection in a rear-facing position until a child is a certain height. After he or she reaches that height, you would then need to turn it around. Following the manufacturer's guidelines is the most important because it ensures your child is best protected.

The rear-facing guideline is endorsed because of the extra protection it offers to your child. In an accident, the impact causes the car to stop but the body continues to travel forward. Because children have underdeveloped muscles in their necks, this means their heads snap forward and back upon impact when they are facing forward. A rear-facing position diminishes this affect, keeping your child safer. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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