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GRACO: Travelling with Kids? Keep them Rear-facing Longer

(NC) Many parents know that infants should travel rear-facing in their car seat, but a recent survey of Canadian parents hosted on Angus Reid Forum reveals that nearly two-thirds answered incorrectly or were unsure about when to switch their child to a front-facing position. Almost half find that car seat safety standards are altogether confusing.

While parents may be tempted to transition their children from rear-facing to forward-facing car seats as soon as possible, Transport Canada, which tests and certifies all car seats across the country, says children are the safest in rear-facing car seats as long as they are still below the seat’s weight and height restrictions.

Erin Varano, a certified passenger safety technician with Graco, says one of the most common questions she has been asked over the years is when to switch from a rear-facing position to forward-facing. To help parents feel more confident, she recommends alleviating the guess work and looking for convertible car seats that grow and transition with your child, allowing them to travel forward-facing until 65 pounds.

“Even if your child weighs 10 kilograms (22 pounds), is able to walk on their own and your local laws say you can use a forward-facing seat, the rear-facing position is safer. I recommend looking for seats designed to provide an extra five inches of legroom, like the Graco® Extend2Fit® ConvertibleCar Seat. This allows children to safely ride rear-facing longer and more comfortably as they grow.”

Many parents worry about the comfort of their children when their feet and legs hit the vehicle’s rear seat, but Varano says it’s absolutely fine as long as they are within height and weight limits. If you just want to be able to see their smiling, happy faces while you’re driving, remind yourself that they’re safer facing the rear.

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