Children Riding Rear-Facing in Vehicles (from SafeKids.org)
Safe Kids USA’s policy is that a child should ride rear-facing in a correctly fitted child restraint on every ride until the child exceeds the height or weight limits allowed by the manufacturer of the rear-facing restraint. A child who exceeds the highest weight allowed by the manufacturer of an infant-only carrier should be switched to a restraint that allows for more time rear-facing.
Riding rear-facing is a well-established policy for infants in vehicles, but older children can benefit from riding rear-facing too. Some car seats today accommodate a rear-facing child who weighs between 30 and 45 pounds and is up to 40 inches tall. Other seats will protect a child until the top of his or her head is 1 inch (2.5cm) below the top of the child seat shell. These improvements mean children have the benefit of a rear-facing position to at least age 2. This is significantly later than earlier recommendations.
Children Riding in the Front Seat of a Vehicle: (from SafeKids.org)
Studies by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance show that a child is 40% safer in a back seat. When a child rides in a back seat and uses restraints, the risk of injury drops to less than 2%.
But research also finds that, even when a back seat is free, 30% of 4- to 8-year-olds and 73% of 9- to 12-year-olds ride in the front seat. Children see riding in the front seat as part of becoming an adult. Also, many parents don’t insist kids ride in the back. In 2008 interviews conducted by Safe Kids Buckle Up, parents said they know the back seat is safer, but they allow children to ride in the front anyway, often to help them.
Safe Kids USA’s policy is that all passengers – but especially children under age 13 – should ride in a back seat with properly fitted restraints appropriate for their weight and height.
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