Rear and Front Facing Car Seats
Rear seats are those which face the back of the vehicle, whereas front seats are those which face the front as in the case of standard adult seating arrangements. In case of a collision, rear facing seats can handle more of the pressure, which results in keeping the occupant safe, whereas on a front facing seat, the impact would mainly be handled by the seat belts and body of the occupant.
The damage would be more and serious if it is the delicate body of a baby. Considering this possibility, the US government has some rules regarding the seating of toddlers in cars. You have to put a baby in a rear-facing seat until a certain age, after which the baby can be seated on a front-facing one. There are even some height and weight requirements to be thought of when driving with a baby.
Front Facing Car Seat Laws
You can only shift a baby to a front facing seat after the child becomes a year old and weighs 20 pounds or more. Toddlers can be seated in rear-facing seats even up to 2 years. A tether strap should be securely installed to ensure proper safety. If the baby does not gain more than 20 pounds in a year, you can even consider not changing the seat to a front-faced one. This can generally be in the case of premature babies.
For kids who are tall and not suitable to be seated on a forward-facing convertible seat, you may use a high-backed booster seat for the purpose. The booster seat has many advantages for seating a child comfortably and safely. It is mainly intended to lift the child to a level that will be appropriate for standard seat belts to fit properly.
These seats also support the kid's head and upper body. Booster seats are recommended for a child under eight years of age, between 40 to 80 pounds, and no taller than 4 feet 9 inches.
There are few states wherein you are mandatorily required to use booster seats for children. However, it is not recommended to install shield booster seats, since these seats have more chances of harming the child's body in a crash.
While seating a child on a front-facing seat, the lap belt should come at the hip level and not over the stomach. Likewise, the shoulder belt should be placed across the shoulders and the body, and not the neck. For solving the seating problem of growing kids, it is better that you install convertible seats. These seats can be used as rear as well as front facing seats according to age progression.
This is some information which you need to consider for your daily driving needs if you take a baby along. Remember that the way car seats for infants are positioned is very important in ensuring maximum safety for these occupants.