Rear-Facing Car Seats

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

Children 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

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.

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

Safety Restraint Misuses

At least half of safety seats

are unintentionally misused. Partial misuse of a safety seat reduces its effectiveness against severe injuries.

Parents’ top 3 mistakes when installing traditional safety seats include:

  • Failure to secure the seat tightly
  • Failure to secure the harness straps tightly
  • Incorrect positioning of the chest clip

To help guard against misuse, parents should always

  • READ seat instructions, labels, and vehicle owner’s manual
  • Install the seat tightly (less than 1 inch of movement) & lock the safety belt
  • Position the harness straps tightly