Rear Facing is Safest Studies show that rear facing is the safest a child will ever be in a passenger vehicle. Infants and children have large heads in relation to their body, and bones and muscles are not developed like an adult. When RF, the seat supports the head neck and spine in a collision. Many seats rear face to high weights, some as high as 45 lbs. Best practice is to keep children rear facing as long as they fit within the height and weight ranges of the child restraint.
RF vs. FF
Never RF in Front Seat with Airbag
Infant Only Seats Always Rear Facing. Comes with a base. Some can be used without base. Start at 4 or 5 lbs. Upper weight limits commonly 22 lbs., 30 lbs., or 35 lbs. All will have height limits as well.
All Limits in Manual
Rear Facing Review
Pinch Test Many seat manuals use the pinch test for harness tightness.
Installed Tight Less than 1 inch of movement at the belt path, using seat belt or UAS, not both.
Without Base Installation
Hearing the Click
Handle Position Always refer to manual for handle position. Sometimes there are reminders on car seat stickers. Lamaze Via – ForwardGraco - UprightBaby Trend - Down
Rebound Control Mechanisms Plastic or foam bolster Anti Rebound Bar Upright or forward infant handle
RF Leg Length Myth It is OK for a child’s legs to touch the seat back rear facing as long as they are still within the weight limits for the seat. My child will be uncomfortable: FALSE My child has an increased chance of leg injury if his legs are too long: FALSE Children are not mini adults. They are far more flexible and will fold legs in front or have them up against the vehicle seat back and still be comfortable. Children are not at an increased risk of leg injury rear facing.
Other RF Car Seat Myths Rear Facing makes kids car sick. My child is uncomfortable/doesn’t like rear facing. Kids are happier when they can see forward/out the window. The truth is that often parents are looking for a technician to ease their mind about turning kids FF. Forward facing may be more convenient for parents, this is why they wish to turn them around. Sell them on safety, but remember it is their choice.
Aftermarket Products Car seat manual example: The use of aftermarket covers, inserts, toys, accessories, or tightening devices is not approved by Britax. Their use could cause this infant carrier to fail Federal Safety Standards or not perform as intended in a crash.
Convertible/3-in-1 Seats Can rear face larger children than infant only. Start at 5 lbs. (yet to see a 5 lb. infant fit in one). Upper weight limits RF commonly between lbs. Children who start with an infant carrier should graduate to a rear facing convertible or 3-in-1 and continue to rear face.
Determining a Method Outboard UAS Only UAS all 3 Positions
Choose a Method UAS in vehicles newer then Sept. 1, Will be in at least 2 positions (often outboard and not in middle. Seat belt in older vehicles, or commonly in the middle in vehicles that have UAS in outboard positions Or Locking clip or built in lock off if seat belt does not lock (i.e. Emergency Locking Retractor and sliding latch plate)
Rear Facing Angle Test with putting pressure in the seat before tightening. Will give you a good idea if you need to adjust. Can use footer for infant base. May need to use a pool noodle or rolled towel to achieve correct angle.
Tight – Less then 1 Inch Movement at Belt Path Poor Leverage Good Leverage Pull through base for good leverage These tightening tricks will greatly improve the tightness of seats.
Over Kill If you show caregivers how to get proper leverage when tightening a rear facing seat, sitting or even kneeling in the seat is almost never necessary. Save them the bruises, show them how to work smarter, not harder.