For young children, car seats are safer if they're facing backward. This way, in a head-on collision, the child isn't actually counting on the straps and harnesses to hold him or her in the seat. These are still very important and should be connected properly at all times, of course, but the force of the impact pushes the child further into the padded seat. A child facing forward would be thrown up against the harness, the same way an adult is pushed forward against the shoulder belt.

So, how long does the child have to stay in that rear-facing seat? Do you need to keep him or her facing backward until the age of two?

Four States

In four states, children have to remain facing toward the rear of the car until they are two years old. These states are Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California.

Strong Recommendations

Even though it's not legally required in the other 46 states, and many parents spin the seats around when children turn one, it is strongly recommended that all parents keep kids facing backward until two or even three years old. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have made this recommendation. The reasoning behind it is a study done by the AAP that claimed kids under the age of 2 are a full 75 percent less likely to suffer injuries or be killed in a wreck if they're facing the rear of the car.

Negligent Transportation

It's important for parents to know about these laws and recommendations in case their young children are hurt in car accidents with other drivers. For example, perhaps a babysitter or a nanny was told to put the carseat in facing to the rear, neglected to do so, and then was involved in a crash. This type of negligence, especially in one of the four states where it also breaks the law, could mean that parents are entitled to financial compensation to help pay medical bills and cover the cost of future care and rehabilitation for the child.