Rear Facing Rumor Not True -- Top Docs Group Clarifies

Cynthia Dermody
car seat safety

Photo by LelandsMommy

Moms have been cheering what has erroneously trickled out to the public as a "new recommendation to keep all children rear facing until age 2."

But this was an error. The American Academy of Pediatrics has NOT changed its current recommendation of keeping a child rear facing until they reach one year AND 20 pounds.

"The rumor about a new recommendation is NOT true," says Debbie Linchesky, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "There was a Parent Plus box in a recent AAP News that said we now recommend rear-facing to age 2, but it's wrong."

The Parent Plus box accompanies an article about research showing benefits to kids rear-facing in the second year of life, Linchesky explained. This part is true. Your child is actually five times safer in the rear position.

But the article was written for information only, and it is not policy. Here is the current recommendation:

"Children should face the rear of the vehicle until they are at least 1 year of age AND weigh at least 20 pounds to decrese the risk of cervical spine injury in the event of a crash. Infants who weigh 20 pounds before 1 year of age should ride rear facing in a convertible seat or infant seat approved for higher weights until at least 1 year of age. If a car safety seat accommodates children rear facing to higher weights, for optimal protection, the child should remain rear facing until reaching the maximum weight for the car safety seat, as long as the top of the head is below the top of the seat back."

The Parent Plus box was spotted by a child passenger safety technician and distributed to other members of the group, thus helping the rumor spread.

And it's even found it's way to CafeMom, where moms are talking about it in groups and Journals.

Even without the official recommendation, many moms say they are thrilled with the research supporting rear-facing's safety advantages. Some are already keeping their older babies and tots backward facing, as Cafe Suzanne reported recently in her Is Extended Rear Facing for You? post.

But who knows? If they are collecting research, maybe a new recommendation is in the cards sometime soon ...

On hearing that rear facing is actually five, FIVE!, times safer than the forward facing position, will you turn your toddler around or extend your baby's current position until 2 years -- even without an official policy?

Related groups:

Car Seat Safety

Car Seat Reviews and Recommendations

Extended Harnessing Rocks!

Read More