Step 1: Rear-Facing Seats

The rear-facing position supports a child’s head, neck and spine and helps reduce stress to the neck and spinal cord in a crash. Children should ride in a vehicle’s back seat in rear-facing safety seats from birth until age 2, or until they reach their convertible seat’s upper weight limit, which should be around 35 pounds. Be sure both age and weight requirements are met before a child is moved to a forward-facing seat.

FAQ: When should I switch from a rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat?

FAQ: What car seat installation method should I use?

Rear Facing Wrong Versus Right


Installation tips

  • Rear-facing seats should be installed in the back seat of your vehicle. Never place a rear-facing seat in front of an active passenger frontal air bag.
  • The center seating position is ideal if it can be used, since it is the farthest from any point of impact.
  • The seat should be installed using either the LATCH system or vehicle safety belt, never both.
    • If using the LATCH system, buckle all unused safety belts to prevent the possibility of strangulation.
    • If using a safety belt, make sure the belt is locked and can hold the seat tightly. You should not be able to move the seat more than one inch in any direction when testing where the belt goes through.
  • Rear-facing safety seats should be installed in the recline mode to protect your baby’s breathing. Be sure to refer to the safety seat manufacturer’s degree recommendation.
  • Harnesses should be at or below your child’s shoulders. The harnesses should be snug and lie flat on your infant’s shoulders, and you should not be able to pinch any slack.
  • The chest clip should be positioned at armpit level, across your infant’s sternum. This protects soft tissue and helps keep the harness straps on your baby.
  • To prevent injury, secure any unused tethers when installing the safety seat.

Do not use any aftermarket accessories, such as mirrors and metal roller shades, and secure loose items such as purses, briefcases, toys and umbrellas, because these items could cause injury in a crash or sudden stop.