Whether they ride in an infant carrier or convertible seat, young kids will eventually have to turn around and face forward. And while a lot of parents want to make the switch as soon as their child is old enough, it's important that we hold off on this transition. Each time you do so, your kiddo loses protection in a crash.
Many state laws and car seats have minimum age requirements for when kids can make the switch from rear-facing to forward-facing, and this leads many parents to decide their child is ready to turn around sooner than they should. This is especially common when it comes to one-year-olds, who are typically encouraged to go forward-facing because of their age and the fact that they're often able to see out the window.
But as a paediatrician and certified child passenger safety technician instructor, Dr Anthea Rhodes warns, "One year old does not mean it's safe to be in a front-facing car seat."
She explains that the reason children under two should remain rear facing is because of the way their necks are shaped and built. The force of a crash can cause the head to be thrown forward, which can lead to severe neck injury or even death. But when a head is cradled by the shell of the car seat, it absorbs a lot of this energy and distributes it to the rest of the body, which protects the child more effectively.