Extended rear-facing (ERF) in car seats has been a huge topic in the car seat realm ever since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended rear-facing for a minimum of 2 years. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommends rear-facing for as long as possible. A British study found that a minimum of 4 years is even better.
Since most infant seats cap out at 25-30 pounds, it would be a good investment to buy or upgrade to a convertible car seat with a higher rear-facing limit. Whether you start out with a convertible or infant seat is up to you, though many child safety experts recommend using a dedicated infant seat for your baby’s first year.
The Graco Extend2Fit convertible has one of the highest rear-facing limits we’ve seen at 50 pounds. Since the average 4 year old weighs about 40 pounds, this seat could allow a vast number of children to ride rear-facing well past their 2nd birthday.
But what about their legs? Won’t they be cramped? This is the #1 concern with ERF. Many studies have shown that it’s actually more dangerous riding forward-facing, particularly because children’s heads, necks and spines are much more susceptible to injury than their legs. Plus, kids are a lot more flexible than adults, and a broken leg is less life-threatening than a neck or head injury.
However, the Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat has taken the issue of cramped legs into account with this innovative model. We’ve broken down the stats for you so you can decide if this seat is worth the hype.