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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    does the USA have a maximum age for rearfacing

    found the australian carseat laws rather interesting which are

    Summary of changes

    The new national child restraint laws state:

    * Children younger than six months must be secured in a rearward facing restraint.
    * Children aged six months to under four years must be secured in either a rear or forward facing restraint.
    * Children aged four years to under seven years must be secured in forward facing child restraint or booster seat.
    * Children younger than four years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows.
    * Children aged four years to under seven years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in a child restraint or booster seat.


    the one that sparked my interest was that children 6 months to 4 years must be secured either in a rear facing or forward facing restraint and then children 4years to 7 years must be secured in a forward facing car seat or a booster.

    now unless I am interpreting this law wrong it is basically saying it is illegal to have your child rear facing past the age of 4? from what I have read/heard in the USA most if not all states have a law where your child must be at least 12months and 20lbs before forward facing but I have not heard of a maximum age for rear-facing.

    I think that there should be no maximum age for rear facing as long as the child is within the height and weight limit of the car seat rear facing the it should be up to the parent if they want to turn at 2 3 4 or 5 years (I think I have seen some on here who do/have rear face/d their child to 5 years).

    I know I would hate to have to turn my child simply because of a law. fortunately living in New Zealand as long as my child is within the height and weight of his/her car seat I can keep them rear facing till they reach one of those and that may not happen till after they are 4

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Re: does the USA have a maximum age for rearfacing

    Is that the wording from the actual law or just a summary of it? (I'm assuming it's a summary--laws themselves, at least in the US, are typically written in a much more complicated way!) Sometimes summaries don't do a good job of interpreting or explaining what the laws really say.

    In the US, laws vary by state.

    Most states don't actually specify a 1-year/20-lb minimum, but most do state that seats have to be used "properly," and no manufacturer allows forward-facing before that point. (Actually, I think one does/did allow 9 months...)

    As far as maximums to rear-face, there are none that I know of. If there are any, the law probably didn't intend to put a maximum on it; it was probably just a poorly worded law. Like, there are some states that say that kids over 4 must be in a booster when the intent, of course, is to make sure that kids over 4 are in at LEAST a booster.

    And yes, although most parents in the US turn their kids at 1 year and 20 pounds, there is a growing movement to keep kids rear-facing even longer. That can indeed mean keeping a kid rear-facing past 5.

  4. #3
    Forum Ambassador TechnoGranola's Avatar
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    Re: does the USA have a maximum age for rearfacing

    I'm not sure it matters much what their law says when I don't believe they even have any rear-facing seats that would keep a child rear-facing until 4. I seem to recall that they've got some strict testing standards that don't allow any rear-facing seats past 12kg.

    Hopefully someone more in the know about Australia will comment.
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  5. #4
    Senior Community Member rachelandtyke's Avatar
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    Re: does the USA have a maximum age for rearfacing

    Basically, in my state, if you go by the wording, best practice would be illegal. I think when it was written, it was probably in line with the limits of the current seats. It is horribly out of date now. I will do what I think is best to keep my child safe irregardless of what it says.

    Here is the law for my state:
    http://www.buckleupsc.com/safety_seat_law.asp

    SECTION 56-5-6410. Child passenger restraint systems; age and weight as basis for required restraining system; standards.

    Every driver of a motor vehicle (passenger car, pickup truck, van, or recreational vehicle) operated on the highways and streets of this State when transporting a child five years of age or younger upon the public streets and highways of the State must provide an appropriate child passenger restraint system and must secure the child as follows:

    (1) A child from birth up to one year of age or who weighs less than twenty pounds must be properly secured in a rear-facing child safety seat which meets the standards prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    (2) A child who is at least one year of age but less than six years of age and who weighs at least twenty pounds but less than forty pounds must be secured in a forward-facing child safety seat provided in the motor vehicle which meets the standards prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    (3) A child who is at least one year of age but less than six years of age and who weighs at least forty pounds but not more than eighty pounds must be secured by a belt-positioning booster seat. The belt-positioning booster seat must be used with both lap and shoulder belts. A booster seat must not be used with a lap belt alone.

    (4) If a child is at least one year of age but less than six years of age and weighs more than eighty pounds, the child may be restrained in an adult safety belt. If a child less than six years of age can sit with his back straight against the vehicle seat back cushion, with his knees bent over the vehicle's seat edge without slouching, the child may be seated in the regular back seat and secured by an adult safety belt.

    (5) A child who is less than six years of age must not occupy a front passenger seat of a motor vehicle. This restriction does not apply if the motor vehicle does not have rear passenger seats or if all rear passenger seats are occupied by other children less than six years of age.

    Any child restraint system of a type sufficient to meet the physical standards prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the time of its manufacture is sufficient to meet the requirements of this article.
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  6. #5
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Re: does the USA have a maximum age for rearfacing

    Quote Originally Posted by TechnoGranola View Post
    I'm not sure it matters much what their law says when I don't believe they even have any rear-facing seats that would keep a child rear-facing until 4. I seem to recall that they've got some strict testing standards that don't allow any rear-facing seats past 12kg.

    Hopefully someone more in the know about Australia will comment.
    I think they're in the process of changing that, though. Or possibly already have, since the OP's list referred to the "new" laws.

  7. #6
    CPS Technician
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    Re: does the USA have a maximum age for rearfacing

    Yes, that is a summary of the laws brought in in 2010. Before this, the only law was for a <1yo to be restrained (not stated if RF of FF, technically a newborn could be FF and it would have been legal). So before these laws, any child over 1yo could use an adult belt legally. These laws are a step up, but still nowhere near adequate (dont get me started lol). And a PP is correct, our seats only RF to 12kg. However most parents still turn at 6 months and 8kg.
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  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: does the USA have a maximum age for rearfacing

    There is no age limit anywhere in the world. The limits are set discretely by what seats are available. In the case of Australia, there are NO seats that rearface past 12 kg, and the seats are tested to 12 kg period.

    Car seat manufactorers in Australia CAN make erf seats. The reason they don´t is that so far there has been no market for them there. The first manufactorer that introduces an erf car seat will have to put a MASSIVE amount into campaigning for this type of seat as well as re-educate 22 millioon people or so. This is going to cost a great deal, as this contry has NO experience with any type of ERF seat. People there have been taught that it is safe to forward face 6 month old 8 kg babies for as long as car seats for children have exsisted.

    The new laws in Australia that came into effect in 2010 are based on age as height and weight have been found to be confusing to people and are thought to be part of the reason there is so much car seat misuse.

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