If nothing else, consider this fact: children under age two are 75% less likely to be killed or suffer severe injuries in a crash if they are riding rear facing rather than forward facing. In fact, for children 1-2 years of age, facing the rear is five times safer. (Pediatrics Journal, 2008)
I am often asked why I want to keep Catherine rear-facing until she outgrows the weight limit for rear-facing on her car seat. Most parents believe that once a child reaches 1-year old and 20lbs, they should be switched from rear-facing to forward-facing. According to our road laws you can switch at 1-year old and 20 lbs, but what they don’t say is that’s the minimum requirements for forward-facing not what you have to do. Despite that, many parents following these guidelines. I have found, through researching, that forward-facing is not necessarily the safest position for a small child. Most of the sources I found say it is safest to leave a child rear-facing until they reach the weight limit of their car seat or when their head is within 1” from the top of the seat. Many car seats only rear-face to 30 lbs, so some bigger children can potentially outgrow rear-facing before it is really safe to forward-facing, so I urge parents to do their research when buying a convertible car seat and pick one that will work for their child to do extended rear-facing. This great website lists all the available car seats in Canada and their weight limits (be aware: many of the same models are available in the USA, but the weight limits differ in Canada due to our stricter safety standards). I am very fortunate because Catherine is on the lower end of the growth curve and the weight limit on her Graco My Ride 65 is 40 lbs, so she will likely end up rear-facing until 3-years old or older. This is one of the reasons I purchased this car seat because I wanted to make sure that I am doing whatever I can to protect her if we are ever in a car accident (God forbid!). This webpage lists all the reason why extended rear-facing is safer and I urge you to read this before you make any decisions on rear-facing or forward-facing. Also, please read this post from a blog that I enjoy reading. I'm so thankful that she has also spoken out about this controversial topic because I find that many people don’t understand extended rear-facing and say that is uncomfortable and not necessary.
I’m going to leave you with a video on the importance of rear-facing. After watching this video you tell me which one looks safer?