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When Should I Get a Rear-Facing Car Seat?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2016
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If you are expecting a child, it is a good idea to get a rear-facing car seat before the child arrives. In fact, you should get a rear-facing car seat for any child younger than 24 months old who will ride in your vehicle. It is highly recommended, and in certain areas required by law, that every child younger than two to be placed in a rear-facing car seat. A front-facing car seat may not adequately protect a child younger than two in the event of a car accident. Therefore, failing to use a rear-facing car seat with a child younger than 24 months of age may result in serious injury or death.

In the past, parents have been advised to use rear-facing car seats for children at least 12 months old. Recent studies have shown, however, that placing children younger than 24 months in a front-facing car seat could place the child in danger. Experts believe children have a significantly lower risk of receiving fatal injuries in an automobile accident when they ride in rear-facing car seats. In fact, a rear-facing car seat could lower the risk of serious injury by up to 75 percent.

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Experts recommend the best time to acquire a rear-facing car seat is before you expect to travel by car with any child younger than two years old. There are certain things to look for when purchasing a new rear-facing car seat. First, be certain the rear-facing car seat can accommodate children of at least 30 pounds (13 or 14 kgs) or more.

A car seat that faces the rear of the vehicle may prevent serious injuries in a frontal car crash. Rear-facing car seats can protect infants and toddlers from receiving spinal cord and neck injuries in frontal collisions. They can also prevent or lessen the risk of internal injuries.

The rear-facing car seat can be a convertible model, but it should be able to accommodate the child according to his weight, not merely his age. It's important to check packaging and ratings carefully. It is not recommended to use car seats that are in poor condition. Inspecting the car seat for defects or flaws before use is highly recommended.

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