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We expect infant car seats to face the rear of a car, but by 12 months it is common practice to move them into forward facing car seats - best advice now is to keep them rear-facing as long as possible. In the UK it's barely possible to buy rear-facing car seats for children over 12 months; seat manufacturers have felt that consumers wouldn't choose them. Recent research shows that children are 5 times better protected by rear facing seats, and in Sweden, it is common for children only to move to forward facing seats around the age of 4 years.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended rear facing car seats for toddlers. Only now are UK organisations endorsing the same advice and only now are these seats coming to the UK market even though the same manufacturers have sold these seats in other markets for many years.
One criticism is that toddlers feel happier once they move into forward facing seats, but research has shown that they feel much the same when they move into larger rear-facing seats. This suggests that less confining seats are responsible for the improvement and not the direction per se. Many adults find that it is more difficult to interact with and entertain children if they are rear-facing. Whilst this is true, you only need to look at this heartbreaking story to help you decide what is better.
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