The research showing how rear-facing is 5 times safer has been out for years, and the AAP has recommended keeping kiddos rear-facing til they reach the limit of their carseat. However, their old guidelines still referred to the '1 yr and 20 lb rule' which made many people think that was when they should turn their kiddos forward.
They just released and clarified their stance:
here's another news article about it:
Unfortunately, the law allows kiddos to be turned at 1 yr/20 lbs and none of the pediatricians around here seem to be spreading the word on how much safer this keeps your kids. Many people just don't know about this (I only stumbled upon this info when I ended up at the forums on http://www.car-seat.org/ when looking for a carseat to replace the infant bucket seat we had with DS). I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but I thought this info might be useful to some of the first-timers.
My 2.5 yr old son is still happily rear-facing in our Honda CRV and in our tiny Toyota Corolla. He HATED with a passion his infant seat and car rides were traumatic for all of us. Once we got the rear-facing convertible which allowed him to sit up higher and actually see out the windows things got much better!