As advanced as car seats are these days (one can actually install itself), they’re still a constant source of confusion for parents. And with good reason—forward-facing, rear-facing, convertible, booster—how do you know which is right for your child’s size?
If you’ve been putting off reading through the new AAP car seat guidelines, we understand. In the meantime, you can test your car seat knowledge with a new quiz created by Claire McCarthy, MD, the faculty editor of Harvard Health Publications. It’s only five questions long and reinforces the basic car seat safety concepts all parents should know.
Ready? We’ll help you through the first one.
When should parents change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing one?
a) 12 months
b) 24 months
c) When they outgrow the rear-facing seat (assuming they are at least 24 months old)
The answer is c. This is a reminder that there’s no hard and fast age guideline for car seats; height and weight are just as important. While the old recommendation was to turn your baby forward-facing at 12 months, since 2011, the AAP has recommended remaining in rear-facing position until children are at least 2 years old or until they reach the highest weight or height limit listed on the specific car seat model. In the event of a crash, rear-facing is simply safer.