The Importance of keeping Toddlers & Preschoolers Rear-Facing

Rear Facing at 30 months

This is My Public Safety Announcement:

I recently learned how important it is to keep your toddler and pre-schoolers rear facing for as long as possible. I was pretty amazed at the research I came across and was even more shocked to find out that the American Academy of Pediatrics even suggests leaving your child rear facing for as long as the car seat allows. All though it is a very good idea to leave your child rear facing until the one year and 20 pounds rule, it is the minimum. You still put your toddler and pre-schooler at greater risk the moment you turn them forward facing should you find yourself in an accident. In fact, it is safe for all people (including adults) to sit backward in the event of an accident but alas, our cars are not designed that way. In some other countries the standard is to keep children rear facing until age 4 or 5 and incidentally they have the lowest fatality rates in car accidents. Please take the time to view some of the video links and the information links below. It may be “inconvenient” to turn them back around but their little lives are so much more important.

I have turned Camden back around rear facing. She is adjusting to it just fine. I just told her it was a new fun way to ride in the car and that it would keep her safe. She is 2 1/2, 26.5 lbs and 37 inches. Her carseat allows her to rear face until she is 30 lbs and 1 inch below the top of the carseat (I want to add due to some concern about the picture above with my daughter that her head was below the one inch margin of the seat. She is leaning forward in the picture so her head looks a lot higher than it is. Make sure you follow you own car seats specifications). We have just purchased her a new Britax Marathon (Cowmooflage by her insistance). The Britax will allow her to rear face for up to 33 pounds and the shell is a lot taller so she will fit in it height wise a lot longer as well. Even if your child is too big for rear facing I still highly recommend Britax carseats because they also allow you to keep your child in a 5 point harness forward facing up to 65 lbs. The Regent (which is a forward facing only seat) allows for harnessing your child up to 80 lbs. The importance of a 5-point harness in older children is another subject all together and one I hope to touch upon later. Also, I’ve recently learned that Recaro seats are wonderful as well and they have new seats (the Como & Signio) that are coming out soon that are supposed to be even better than the Britax. I decided to stick with the trusted and true Britax for now until the new Recaro’s have a chance to be used in real life. Perhaps our next purchase will be a Recaro.

If you’re anything like me you are thinking where in the world would their legs go? That couldn’t be comfortable! That is probably dangerous. Those were my biggest concerns too. But after doing a lot of research and seeing pictures of real children sitting rear facing and talking with real moms my worries were dispelled. I feel confident that rear facing is best and that their legs aren’t an issue. But don’t take my word for it – research it yourself! :)

Please pass this on to anyone you know that has a child in a car seat. Even if your child is too big to rear face it is important to spread the word and also to keep older children in car seats in a 5-point harness vs. a “booster” that simply puts the lap belt across them.

Here is a more recent post with my daughter in her new Britax Marathon Cowmooflage.

Here is a link to pictures of Camden rear facing at age 3 years and 3 months.

My Favorite Link:

Pictures of real Toddlers & Preschoolers rear facing


The Importance of Rear-facing Video

Crash test of a Forward-Facing child

Side camera Crash test of a Rear-Facing child

Overhead view of a Rear-Facing child


Rear-FacingCar Safety Seats: A Guide for Families 2006

Is Your Baby Ready to Face Forward in the Car?

MSNBC: Toddlers Should Face the Rear Longer

Rear-Facing Car Seats: What You Need to Know, by Kathleen Weber

Rear-Facing Seats

Car Time – Stage 1: Safe Travel in a Rear-facing Infant Seat

Rear-Facing Car Seat Rules – Why You Should Consider Extended Rear-Facing

Child safety in cars – Literature reviewBooster Seats – Dr. E.R. Segedin April 2006

SafetyBeltSafe Technical Information (Scroll down to the section on Rear-facing vs. forward-facing)

Safety For the Growing Child – Experiences From Swedish Accident Data

Danger with children – The researchers’ facts about children and car security (Swedish)

How Long Should Babies Ride Facing the Back of the Car?

Why Rear-Facing is Safest

Rear-Facing – Unmatched Safety


  1. Julie · November 28, 2014

    What happens if one gets rear-ended from behind? Then rear-facing is dangerous.

    • journeytocrunchville · November 29, 2014

      Actually, it is still safer in a rear-ended accident.

      “Rear end crashes only make up 5% of the total amount of car accidents, and usually occur at far lower speeds than frontal ones. 75% of all crashes are frontal and the remaining 20% are side impacts. You obviously need to use a seat that will protect your child in the most common types of collisions, which are frontal and side impacts. But even in a rear end collision a child is usually better off in a rear facing car seat. In a rear end collision both vehicles are moving in the same direction, which throws the car that is hit from behind, forward. This means that the forces of the crash are far lower than they are in a frontal impact where the vehicle comes to a sudden halt. In a rear facing seat, the child’s vulnerable head is positioned towards the centre of the vehicle, away from the point of impact. So rear facing is safer in all types of crashes, the only time rear facing would have the same effect as forward facing, would be if you were to reverse into something at high speed, and that is extremely unlikely.”

  2. · July 8, 2014

    in 1 oz

  3. Michele · March 12, 2008

    Just wanted to thank you for the info!! I forward it to people with carseat questions all the time!

  4. Joanne · February 21, 2008

    Hi…I am a child safety fanatic :) My 3 year old is still RF. I loved your site. I would like permission to pass it on if thats OK. I have been trying to promote extended rear facing, however I find that theres too much info in too many places and people get sick of looking for it. Your site has everything in one place and is put together really well. I hope you will allow me to pass it on :) Thanks!

  5. Heather · December 12, 2007

    Actually, the child’s spine can “snap in half” when facing *forward* if their neck and spine isn’t formed enough to handle crash forces. It’s called internal decapitation, and kids almost always die instantly from it.

    A rear-facing child is in a better position to ride down crash forces without the potential for internal decapitation. I’ve worked in child passenger safety for several years, and I have never heard of a child receiving midsection injuries from being rear-facing.

  6. journeytocrunchville · December 10, 2007

    I would like to hope that you actually read some of the research and studies behind this article instead of just looking at the pictures. I agree the pictures look a little counter-intuitive. Dig deeper and actually read the research and watch the videos and you’ll see why so many car-seat-safety technicians and doctors and people around the world are pushing for us to rear face our children longer.

  7. Joannie · December 10, 2007

    I cannot see how a rear-facing child with legs longer than the seat could be a good thing. It appears that the child would ‘snap’ in half (pardon the pun) leaving serious mid-section injuries.

    This can’t be good….

  8. Kelly · September 6, 2007

    Thanks for all the safety information. I just wanted to let you know that we have had a HORRIBLE experience with Recaro. My 2.5 yo son outgrew his Marathon so we moved to a seat we hoped would carry him through for a long time. Well, the padding on the head rest came off a couple of months after we got it to which the company responded “just hot glue it back on, that’s all we do” and now one of the hooks to attach it to the car has broken. All within 6 months of purchase. I’ve gotten berated, ignored, and told it was my problem that I had a broken seat. So, while they may be the safest around I would recommend staying away from the company.

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