This is one of the few soapbox topics I have. I vaccinate my kid (and have no problem with people who choose not to); breastfeeding is best but it doesn't work out for some people, neither mother should be shamed for their situation; and co-sleeping works for some and not others. To each their own. I have friends in all different places on the mommy map. All of our kids will turn out just fine. But, one thing I have a hard time understanding is the range of opinions on car seat safety! Apparently 3 out of 4 children are not in their seat properly or are in the wrong type of seat entirely! The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends rear facing until at least two, longer if the seat allows for it.
Below is an info-graphic from the NHTSA. It shows the recommended age ranges. Within each range, the farther to the right, the safer the kid.
Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
1 - 3 Years
Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It's the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
4 - 7 Years
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it's time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
Believe it or not, your child is safer sitting rear-facing with their legs froggy style, criss-cross applesauce, or hanging over the sides than turning them to face forward. There is a saying that goes along with this as well- "Cast It or Casket"
LATCH or Belt, Not both!
I used to think that using both the seat belt and LATCH together will secure the seat better. In fact it works against your favor because the seat does not have any rebound or wiggle room. Choose one or the other, if you have a choice. In my RDX I do not have a choice. My son's seat is in the middle so that he is away from any side impact. The RDX does not allow LATCH borrowing. Meaning I can only use the seat belt to install the Marathon in the middle position. If you don't know about LATCH borrowing, he's a quick explanation. Many cars have LATCHES on the outboard seats and not the center position. Some cars will allow you to use the LATCH from the side seats to secure a car seat in the middle, but most do not!