For the sake of safety, it is best to keep your child rear-facing until he reaches maximum height and weight. Some say to keep him in that position until he is at least two years old.
Both the AAP and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend children to ride on a backward seat until they outgrow them.
The benefits of rear-facing
A little child's bones and tendons are still developing. Therefore, they are more prone to suffer head or spinal injuries. Their head is also proportionately larger than their neck so any sudden movement can prove fatal. Rear-facing seats are designed to provide the best support for your baby's head, neck, and spine.
The use of rear-facing seats has statistically decreased the injuries in cars in minors under 12 years of age. However, car crashes are the number one cause of death for children under 1.
When your child outgrows his rear-facing seat, you can get him a convertible seat with a larger height and weight limit. This way, you can keep him rear-facing a little longer. Whenever he is ready to face forward, the convertible seat will suit him well.
What about lack of space for the legs?
Some parents grow concerned about children who outgrow the chair and have to cross their legs. Parents are afraid that the baby might be riding uncomfortably. But experts agree that this is not the case.
Rear-facing chairs are more effective to protect the head, neck, and spine of the child, but also the hands and feet. In a front-viewing chair, your child's arms and legs fly forward and are more likely to get injured. The chances of injury for a baby in a rear-facing seat are significantly less.