Monday, March 21, 2011

I was FINE and my Children Rear-face in Carseats

Have you heard about the American Academy of Pediatric’s updated recommendations to continue to rearface children up to 2 years of age, or even longer if they still fit?

I don't blame anyone for being suspicious or resentful of what seems to be additional cost and effort. I was the eldest of 11 children and I watched all of my siblings turn forward at a year (probably younger, but can't remember exactly). They rode in those seats with the big arm in the front. I have family photos of a brother at 14 months riding forward facing in a belt positioning booster. My mom says she remembers flying off the seat a couple times when she was a kid because she didn’t have a carseat!

Live and learn! My mom is a beautiful woman who loves us dearly. She only wants what is best for us and did the best she could with the information she had available at the time. Now you and I have advanced seats available that can protect our children from paralyzing injury or death. We have the internet so we can watch videos and learn from the mistakes of others instead of watching our children suffer or die.

Yeah, I'm fine, and all my siblings are fine. In all our years as a family, my mom was only in one car accident, where someone ran a red light at a very low speed and hit her bumper. But you know what? Someone would NOT have been fine if we had ever experienced a bigger car collision.

Take look at the photo of this car after it was in a bigger accident:

Or take a look here, where the only survivor was a rearfacing infant:

You're fine because you were never in that dangerous situation. Use foresight NOW, use science NOW and make sure that if your child is ever in that situation, she has the best chance to survive.

And don't think that you have to spend hundreds on a fancy carseat, either. You can add a reliable carseat to the baby shower or 1st birthday registry. You can ask grandparents to donate money to a carseat fund instead of other gifts. You can keep an eye out for coupons, clearance and special buys. For example, I found a comfortsport for $12.48, a True Fit for $33 and a Britax Roundabout for $49 at Target. Check out to stay in the loop for potential clearance seats. Join for updates.

There are even budget options, such as the Cosco Scenera40 that now rearfaces to 40 pounds. That will get many children at least to 2 years of age if not longer. It is generally $30-50 at various places like Target and Walmart. 

Think about it: $40 for a carseat? Installation is as simple as a forward facing seat. Buckling them in is required no matter what direction they are facing. There is NO extra work or money required but your child BENEFITS. You can do it! Worried that your child doesn’t want to turn around? Put on a genuine smile and try it. If your child doesn’t detect concern from you, then you might be happily surprised. My own sister went back to rear facing at age 4 for awhile, after she had been forward facing since 1 year. She loved it and cried when she had to face forward again due to weight limits.

Yes, times were different when you were a child, or when your parent was a child or when your grandparent was a child. But just because you are fine doesn't mean anything. The people who aren't fine don't get to talk about it because they aren't here; they're dead.

This is about the progress of science. We now know that bones do not ossify (solidify/harden/mature) until well past 3 years of age. We also know that the heads of children are disproportionately large compared to their bodies. You can view a scale comparing babies, toddlers, children and adults here:

Physics, biology, these are undeniable facts of life that won't change based on how deeply we feel about it. The fact is, when a younger child or toddler is slammed forward going even 35 MPH (let alone 60 or 70 as is now normal on our highways) his head is so heavy and his bones are so weak that his spinal cord and brain are vulnerable to crash forces.

It's called internal decapitation, where the head is ripped away from the body on the inside. If it doesn't cause death, it causes paralysis, extreme pain and hemorrhage.

So you can look back to the golden days of tank-cars, slow highways and fewer people and complain about how fine you are, or you can take a serious look at the science behind this issue. Either way, a collision won't magically change for your child. Your child won't get a special pass from the facts of physics and biology. Your strong opinion won't move the other car out of the way in a collision. Your childhood memories won't cradle their heads as they slam forward. Change NOW; don't weep later.

My toddler is rearfacing in my van.
 © Guggie Daly


  1. you also have to think that in this day and time that people have more distractions when driving and get in more accidents and they also drive at higher speeds that are more deadlier then when we all were growing up.
    I turned my son around at 2 but thats when he hit the wieght limit to be turned, yes he is that small he was early and is small, at 27 months he is 24 pounds and 34 inches. I am now debating turning him back to RF but it will be such a fight if I do.

  2. Ok so kind of off topic but I am so showing this post to my hubby. Not b/c he's not down with RFing (he is and is totally awesome in almost every way), but b/c for yrs now he's said how kids "looked wierd" b/c of their disproportionate heads LOL:) Kinda an inside joke between us but glad you post so many interesting links. THX!

  3. My 23 month old will be rear facing until he maxes out the rear facing-ness of his car seat, which is 40 pounds, I do believe. I love our Radians because they are good up to 80 pounds. And they don't expire after 5 years, which I also love. Pricey, yes! But I'll never have to buy more car seats. Nice.

  4. Wonderful post! I hope to RF for a very long time with my LO.

  5. Nicole86 it may be less of a fight then you think! Personally my daughter was turned when she was 20mon old when she finally hit the minimum to be FF in her seat (I knew that much then that she must be the minimum) and at three and a half I turned her back and she loved it and still does. She is still RF at 5.5yr old today!

  6. Awesome post.
    How many times have I heard (often from my MIL)... well "i did it this way, and ____ was FINE." And I think, then you were LUCKY! Or... we know better now!