NHTSA Policy Reaffirmation of September 2017

The following statement is from NHTSA.

NHTSA LogoAs you know, there have been communications and on-going technical reviews regarding the validity of the 2007 study comparing the injury risk between rear- and forward-facing car seats for children less than 2 years of age in the United States (Henary et al, 2007).  Some of these communications may have caused uncertainty regarding child passenger safety and educational messages given to caregivers.

It is important to note that all the studies in question demonstrate the value and effectiveness that car seats play in keeping children safe while traveling.

In 2011, NHTSA revised its best practice child car seat recommendations to state that:
NHTSA RF OnlyChildren under age 1 should always ride in rear-facing car seats; and
NHTSA RF ToddlerChildren 1 to 3 years of age ride in rear-facing car seats as long as possible and until they reach the upper height or weight limit according to the manufacturers’ instructions.

The information and analyses available thus far supports NHTSA’s position on car seats.  Our best practice recommendations remain the same in 2017.  Ensuring safety is an ongoing process at NHTSA, and we will review additional data as they become available.