This is My Public Safety Announcement:
I recently learned how important it is to keep your toddler and pre-schoolers rear facing for as long as possible. I was pretty amazed at the research I came across and was even more shocked to find out that the American Academy of Pediatrics even suggests leaving your child rear facing for as long as the car seat allows. All though it is a very good idea to leave your child rear facing until the one year and 20 pounds rule, it is the minimum. You still put your toddler and pre-schooler at greater risk the moment you turn them forward facing should you find yourself in an accident. In fact, it is safe for all people (including adults) to sit backward in the event of an accident but alas, our cars are not designed that way. In some other countries the standard is to keep children rear facing until age 4 or 5 and incidentally they have the lowest fatality rates in car accidents. Please take the time to view some of the video links and the information links below. It may be “inconvenient” to turn them back around but their little lives are so much more important.
I have turned Camden back around rear facing. She is adjusting to it just fine. I just told her it was a new fun way to ride in the car and that it would keep her safe. She is 2 1/2, 26.5 lbs and 37 inches. Her carseat allows her to rear face until she is 30 lbs and 1 inch below the top of the carseat (I want to add due to some concern about the picture above with my daughter that her head was below the one inch margin of the seat. She is leaning forward in the picture so her head looks a lot higher than it is. Make sure you follow you own car seats specifications). We have just purchased her a new Britax Marathon (Cowmooflage by her insistance). The Britax will allow her to rear face for up to 33 pounds and the shell is a lot taller so she will fit in it height wise a lot longer as well. Even if your child is too big for rear facing I still highly recommend Britax carseats because they also allow you to keep your child in a 5 point harness forward facing up to 65 lbs. The Regent (which is a forward facing only seat) allows for harnessing your child up to 80 lbs. The importance of a 5-point harness in older children is another subject all together and one I hope to touch upon later. Also, I’ve recently learned that Recaro seats are wonderful as well and they have new seats (the Como & Signio) that are coming out soon that are supposed to be even better than the Britax. I decided to stick with the trusted and true Britax for now until the new Recaro’s have a chance to be used in real life. Perhaps our next purchase will be a Recaro.
If you’re anything like me you are thinking where in the world would their legs go? That couldn’t be comfortable! That is probably dangerous. Those were my biggest concerns too. But after doing a lot of research and seeing pictures of real children sitting rear facing and talking with real moms my worries were dispelled. I feel confident that rear facing is best and that their legs aren’t an issue. But don’t take my word for it – research it yourself! :)
Please pass this on to anyone you know that has a child in a car seat. Even if your child is too big to rear face it is important to spread the word and also to keep older children in car seats in a 5-point harness vs. a “booster” that simply puts the lap belt across them.
Here is a more recent post with my daughter in her new Britax Marathon Cowmooflage.
Here is a link to pictures of Camden rear facing at age 3 years and 3 months.
My Favorite Link:
SafetyBeltSafe Technical Information (Scroll down to the section on Rear-facing vs. forward-facing)