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EVENFLO: Benefits of Rear-facing Car Seats

There are many transitions that parents have to navigate as children grow from infants to toddlers (solid foods, toddler beds, etc). Transitioning from a rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat is a topic that often generates a lot of confusion and concern. Safety experts agree: infants and young children should remain rear-facing as long as possible. But what does that really mean? And what are your options?

Rear-facing car seats are designed to protect infants and young children in a crash. The bodies of young children are still developing – their spine, skeletal structure and muscles are not yet fully mature. Moreover, their heads are disproportionately large compared to their body. A rear-facing car seat provides protection for the child’s head, neck and spine. In a crash, the shell of the car seat absorbs most of the crash forces, before transferring energy to the harness or child.

With newborns, parents have a couple of options for car seats. You can start with a rear-facing only car seat, commonly referred to as an infant carrier. Or you can start with a multi-mode car seat, like a convertible car seat or an all-in-one car seat. Most young children will outgrow an infant carrier around their first birthday (some children will outgrow the carrier sooner – while others may get many more months of use before the seat is outgrown). Once outgrown, the child should move to a multi-mode seat that provides them the opportunity to remain in a rear-facing position longer. The child should remain rear-facing in the convertible or all-in-one car seat until they reach the upper weight and height limits of the seat for rear-facing mode, as stated in the instruction manual. For example, in the new Evenflo SafeMax All-in-One car seat the child can remain rear-facing until they reach 18 kg (40 lbs) and 102 cm (40 in), providing ample opportunity to keep your child rear-facing longer.

Parents commonly ask about whether it is okay for a child’s feet and legs to touch the back of the vehicle seat while using a rear-facing car seat. As long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s stated guidelines for rear-facing, it is okay for the child’s feet and legs to touch the vehicle seat back. Many children choose to sit with their legs crossed, hanging over the side of the car seat, or stretched out on the back of the vehicle seat (in a yoga-inspired pose). While those positions may look uncomfortable to us as adults, young children are generally much more flexible and not bothered by such positions. The American Academy of Pediatrics found that injuries to children’s legs were rare when rear-facing.

If you have questions about whether you have selected the appropriate type of car seat, or how to use it properly, you are not alone. There are certified car seat technicians in Canada that are trained in the selection, use and installation of child restraints. Transport Canada provides a list of local resources on their website: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/safedrivers-childsafety-seat-clinics-1058.htm

In addition, Evenflo is also an excellent resource and can provide additional details Evenflo SafeMaxabout the use and installation of our child restraints. The new Evenflo SafeMax All-in-One car seat comes with an enhanced customer service experience: ParentLink Premier. Premier Service includes access to a one-on-one video installation appointment with a certified car seat technician, real time chat online, an extended two-year product warranty and the SafeMax All-in-One car seat has a 10-year expiration. Evenflo is committed to child passenger safety: we have over 35 certified car seat technicians and two car seat instructors on our team. Most importantly, we are parents, too – and we know how important it is to feel comfortable that your child is safe in the car.

By: Sarah Haverstick, Safety Advocate and Certified Car Seat Technician Instructor, Evenflo Company, Inc.

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