The latest recommendation by the AAP is that "all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat until 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car safety seat manufacturer. Once your child has outgrown the rear-facing height or weight limit, she should ride in a forward-facing car safety seat." More details can be found here at the AAP parenting's web site.
*Reference: M. J. Bull and D. R. Durbin
Rear-Facing Car Safety Seats: Getting the Message Right
Pediatrics, March 1, 2008; 121(3): 619 - 620.
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For children with certain clinical diagnoses, adaptive equipment designed for use during transportation may be beneficial to help them achieve their goals. Always check with your child's therapists before using equipment to make sure that it is appropriate. Some of the clinical diagnoses that might include but are not limited to the following: Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, Gross Motor Delay, Spina Bifida, Autism, and Traumatic Brain Injury.