On September 22, 2015 Governor Brown signed a new law requiring children to be riding rear-facing in their car seat until the age of 2-years. The bill introduced by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, will go into effect on January 1, 2017. Even even though the new law will require children to be rear facing until 2-years of age, it is recommended and safest to keep your child rear-facing up until the maximum height or weight that is printed on the side of your child's car seat for maximum safety and protection. Once your child outgrows a rear-facing only car seat their next seat is a convertible car seat (most can also be used for newborns), where the child can ride rear-facing longer, up to the height or weight printed on the side of the car seat.
Most car seats are now being designed to a greater height and weight to accommodate children riding rear-facing longer. Even once a child is out of a rear-facing only infant car seat, the next stage of car seats which is the convertible seats are also designed to keep the child to be continued seated rear-facing. Many of these convertible car seats when rear-facing can range from 40, 45 and even up to 50 pounds.Baby growth charts modified for child passenger safety best practices illustrate that these upper weights can keep children rear-facing between 3-5 years of age. Keeping a child rear-facing longer helps to provide support to protect the child's head and neck during a collision. A child that is restrained properly in a rear-facing seat helps to provide additional support to the child's posterior torso, neck, head and pelvis. In the event of a collision this helps to distribute the crash force over their entire body instead of the force being on the body at the five-point harness contact points.
Remember to keep your child rear-facing longer, up until the height or weight maximum that is printed on the side of your car seat to give your child more neck and head protection. Even further every time you move your child from rear-facing to forward-facing, to booster seat to seat belt you are giving your child less and less protection. Keep your child at each stage longer up until the maximum height or weight printed on the side of your child's car seat.