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Infant and child car seats are there to keep your children safe in traffic, and their use saves many lives. This much is clear but everything else can be a bit tricky, from installing car seats to knowing how to use them correctly. How long should kids be rear facing, and when can you turn them forward? Babies start out riding in car seats specifically designed for infants, who can't sit up yet. These infant car seats, which should be rear faced for maximum safety, have weight limits and your baby may grow out of them even before that weight limit is reached. At the same time, these children won't be at the stage they can use a "big kid car seat" yet. The answer is a convertible, which enables bigger kids to keep on rear facing. Most people switch their kids to forward facing as soon as it's legally possible, which is after the child's first birthday.

Is there any reason to delay that? After all, forward facing may seem more practical and allows the child to see much more while she is being driven in a car. Forward facing is much easier on the parent who is driving her kids, with no other adult in the car. Increasingly, car seat safety groups are campaigning for to keep children facing backward for longer. But why? And why are some people so very passionate about car seats for children, and so aggressive in their rear-facing campaign? We've all heard about the breastfeeding mafia, and everyone knows that all parents have strong views on all things child and parenting related. It's easy to dismiss the "rear-facing mafia" without considering what they're saying, because they're often that nasty mom on an attachment parenting forum on the web. So, let's look at science instead.

One study published in Pediatrics in 2008 showed that a child is 75 percent less likely to be killed or seriously injured in a car crash specifically a frontal crash, which is the most common type if they are front facing. A crash is less dangerous for a child when the child is rear facing, because it protects the (relatively big, compared to an adult) body from being pushed forward, which is extremely risky. In Sweden, kids rear-face until they are five years old. This may be unimaginable in the US, but in short, rear facing for as long as possible is safer. What do you think about car seat safety? Which car seat have you bought, and what would you advise other moms? Join the discussion about car seats on our forum to share your opinion!

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