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When Can Baby Face Forward in the Car?

Baby’s still rear facing. When can I turn her seat around?
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Updated
March 2, 2017
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You might be excited to turn baby forward facing, so she can look out the window, and so you can keep a better eye on her. But you should delay the switch as long as possible. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should keep toddlers rear facing until age two, or until they’ve reached the maximum rear facing height and weight limit for their seat.

“If you’re involved in a car accident, baby is far more likely to be injured in a forward-facing seat,” says Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, family physician and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year. “Babies and young children are at high risk for head, neck and spinal cord injuries because their ligaments and muscles are immature. Their heads are proportionally very large and heavy for their bodies, and their necks aren’t strong enough to support them well in an impact situation,” she explains.

So basically, it’s safest to keep kids backward as long as the car seat will let you. It’s not worth the risk to do it sooner. Hate not seeing baby’s sweet face? Attach a baby-safe mirror to the backseat’s headrest.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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