Rear-facing kids are 5 times safer than those riding forward-facing.
All children who are within the rear-facing height and weight limits for their converticle car seats, no matter what their age–but certainly all infants and toddlers under 2.
In the center of the back seat. The center is 43% safer than the side because you cannot take a direct hit if you are sitting in the center.**
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids “should continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible car seat for as long as possible,” which means till they are too tall or too heavy for their child safety seat. Likewise, NHTSA recomends “Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer.”
Too Tall: If head is within one inch of the top of the child safety seat.
Too Heavy: If child is over the rear-facing weight limit for their convertible seat (typically 35-50 pounds).
NOTE: It is OK for the child’s feet to touch the vehicle seat. This is SAFE and is NOT uncomfortable.
Infant seats: For newborns and infants up to 22 – 40 pounds (weight limit depends on the model of the seat)
Convertible seats: Rear-facing for babies and toddlers up to 30, 35, 40 or even 50 pounds and then forward-facing for kids up to 40 pounds or more.
**Note: If you have more than one child in the rear seat, the forward-facing child should sit in the center, since this child is less safe by virtue of being forward-facing.