Rear-Facing Car Seats

Stage 1: Rear-Facing Car Seats until at least Age 2

guide-infant1Children should use rear-facing car seats in the back seat until at least age 2 and for as long as possible (even up to age 4) to the rear-facing height and weight limits for the seat. If your car seat has a rear-facing weight limit of 22 pounds or less, you should change to a convertible car seat with higher rear-facing limits and keep rear-facing for longer. Leg crowding is expected and okay. It does not cause harm as long as the child is within the weight and height limits for the seat.

Rear-Facing Car Seat Safety Tips

  • Infants and toddlers should ride in infant or convertible seats.
  • Infants and toddlers should remain rear-facing seats in the back seat until a minimum of age 2, and as long as possible (even up to age 4) to the maximum height and weight limits for the seat.
  • Read labels to determine the correct seat for age, weight and height. Maximum rear-facing weight range varies from 22-35 pounds. Check instructions and labels carefully, as weight and height specifications vary.
  • Seat should be semi-reclined at approximately 45 degrees when rear-facing; use angle indicator on safety seat.
  • READ the instruction manual AND the safety belt/seat section in your vehicle manual for proper installation guidance.
  • Children should always ride in the back seat. In some states (including Virginia), it is illegal to place a rear-facing seat in the front seat of a vehicle.
  • NEVER put a rear-facing child in front of an active airbag.
  • Install infant and convertible seats tightly in the vehicle—less than an inch of movement
  • If using a safety belt to install, LOCK the vehicle safety belt to keep it tight—refer to labels on belt, vehicle owners manual, and car seat instruction manual

Stage 2: Forward-Facing Toddler Seats