Infants & Toddlers—Rear-Facing Seats

Car seats like this one can be used both front-facing and rear-facing.

The AAP advises that all infants ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers must ride in a rear-facing seat, as long as possible, until they get to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. Many convertible seats have limits that will let children ride rear-facing for two years or more. When infants outgrow their rear-facing–only seat, a convertible seat installed rear-facing is required.

Rear-Facing Seats Types:

Three types of rear-facing seats are available: 3-in-1, rear-facing–only, and convertible. When children get to the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer of their rear-facing–only seat, they have to continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible or 3-in-1 seat.

Rear-facing–only seats:

  • Used for infants up to 22 to 35 pounds, based on the model.
  • They are little and have carrying handles.
  • Usually, have a base that can be left in the car. The seat clicks into and out of the base so you don’t have to install it every time you use it. Parents can purchase more than one base for additional vehicles.
  • It should be used only for travel (not feeding, sleeping, or any other use outside the vehicle).

Convertible seats (used rear-facing)

  • It can be used rear-facing and, later, “converted” to forward-facing for bigger children when they outgrow either the weight limit or the length limit, for rear-facing. This means your child can get more usage out of the seat.
  • They are bulkier than infant seats, though, they don’t come with carrying handles or separate bases and are designed to stay in the car.
  • Many have higher limits in rear-facing weight (up to 40–50 pounds) and height than rear-facing–only seats, which make them perfect for bigger babies and toddlers.
  • Have a 5-point harness that connects at the shoulders, at the hips, and between the legs.
  • It should be used only for travel (not feeding, sleeping or any other use outside the vehicle).