Most parents know infants belong in a rear-facing car seat. So that part is good. But according to a recent study by University of Michigan published in the journal Academic Pediatrics, more than 75 percent of American parents are making the switch to forward-facing car seats way too soon. And yes, we’ve heard ALL the excuses about how they look uncomfortable or how their legs are too long, but they’re not—and the reality is that it’s not safe to turn babies around until they’re two.
The study reveals that only 23 percent of parents of 1 to 4 year olds actually followed the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation—that kids sit in rear-facing car seats until age 2 (or until they reach the height and weight limits set by their car seat’s manufacturer)—and a whopping 24 percent of parents are putting their kids in front-facing car seats before age 1.
Children under the age of 2 who sit in rear-facing car seats are 75 percent less likely to be severely or fatally injured in a car accident, according to a study in the journal Injury Prevention, because this position better supports the head, neck and spine. So think twice before flipping them forward too early.