Are rear facing carseats really to blame?

Julia - posted on 07/19/2011 ( 44 moms have responded )

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I saw this article on accuweather.com about the number of children that die of hyperthermia by being forgotten in the car is on the rise. The article suggests that is may be because of rear facing child seats, that because they face backwards parents forget they have their child in the car (hope the link works).
http://m.accuweather.com/en/health-artic...

I was outraged anyway by just the thought of leaving your child in the car alone, but do people actually forget they have their children in the car? I don't see how its possible however, people use this as their defense. So what do you think is the carseat responsible or neglectful parenting?

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Lady Heather - posted on 07/19/2011

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I wouldn't be so quick to nitpick with the parents. Apparently it isn't actually THAT weird to forget your kids. And it doesn't mean the parents weren't interacting with their kids. It usually happens when the kid is asleep. In that case, you aren't going to be interacting period.

I think it is good to bring more awareness to this subject because as someone posted on another thread, there are things you can do to prevent it from happening. You can get alarms for the seat and/or follow these tips from kidsandcars.org :

Back seat – put something in the back seat so you have to open the door when leaving the vehicle (cell phone, handbag, employee badge, etc).

Every child should be correctly restrained, in the back seat.

Stuffed animal – move it from the car seat to the front seat to remind you when the baby is in the back seat.

Ask your babysitter or child-care provider to call you within 10 minutes if your child hasn’t arrived on time.

Focus on driving. Avoid cell phone calls and texting while driving.

Every time you park you vehicle open the back door to make sure no one has been left behind.

The fact that there are safety groups dedicated to solving the problem to me suggests that it isn't just a cop out for neglectful parenting. And yes, rear facing seats might make it more likely to forget, but there are simple solutions to help prevent the problem so I don't think it's worth front facing and potentially endangering your kid in another way just to avoid forgetting them.

I saw that episode of Oprah too Mary. Very eye-opening. I didn't have kids yet when it aired but I have that mum on my mind every time we go for a car ride. Definitely a life changer. And no - I do NOT think she was a bad parent. She had a bad day with the worst consequences imaginable but she was not neglectful.

Sara - posted on 07/25/2011

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I have forgotten my baby. ONCE. And it was because someone started talking to me and I had just her. I usually have all the kids. But I walked into the store, grabbed a cart, said more then a few expletives and ran back to my car. That's how long it took for me to realize. And I was so upset I didn't even try to go back to shopping. I went home. And I have NEVER done it again. I learned my lesson. So I understand forgetting, for a minute. But for all day...no. I wouldn't call it neglect, I don't know what I'd call it. Sad. Very, very sad.

Rosie - posted on 07/19/2011

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this debate really irritates me. how is someone being neglectful when they ACCIDENTALLY leave their child in the car? wouldn't they be neglectful if they did it on purpose?
i guess i don't understand that way of thinking. accidents happen all the time. are we all neglectful when we have accidents now? has your child ever fallen off a couch or bed? have they tripped on something you didn't pick up off the stairs and fallen, have you remembered everytime to turn your pot handles in on the stove? each one of these times your child could get seriously hurt or worse. do you feel neglectful or unfit?

Vegemite - posted on 07/24/2011

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That's like someone saying they left their child alone in the bath because it has a shower screen so couldn't see their child and forgot it was there. What a stupid!

Merry - posted on 07/24/2011

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Sounds like having a job s the real culprit.

:) jk

But yeah notice how all the parents forgetting their kids are going to work?

I can't fathom forgetting a kid, but I'm a sahm, so my whole day is centered around the kids. If I go somewhere in the car it's usually because of the kids or for them :)

No rearfacing isn't the issue, I've got two rf kids and have never forgotten them.

If we are playing the blame game then I'd say the problem is parents who have routines that don't involve their kids.

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Merry - posted on 07/25/2011

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Ella I bet you are in Australia, but here in America it's illegal to forward face before a year old. And recommended to stay rearfacing a minimum of two years.
Front facing has a high risk of internal decapitation before two years when the neck is better able to support the head.

Sherri - posted on 07/25/2011

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HUH are your kids way older or something, if your kids weren't rear facing till at least a yr of age I would bet your not in the US, unless your kids are significantly older.

Ella - posted on 07/25/2011

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Its so sad Ive read a fair few stories on people who's babies have died after being left in a hot car all day they have forgotten to drop them off to daycare and gone to work. I don't think I could forget my kids but rear facing certainly wouldn't help. My kids have not been facing backward since 4-5 months

Julia - posted on 07/23/2011

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Stacey I did not know the mirrors where illegal? I have one also, because our youngest one 7mo hated his carseat and would always scream like a crazed chimpanzee! But I agree with you I would keep it up also.

This has been a good debate and I am glad for all of the responses. I personally don't think the carseats are to blame. I do think that parents need to take a moment and just double check because this is a horrible way to die. It also would be horrible for the death. Ultimatley the parents are responsible for the child and to forget your child that way is just unfathomable. I can understand small mistakes because every parent makes them...but not a carseat mistake. I feel for the parents it happens to. Thanks ladies

Stacey - posted on 07/22/2011

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i have to say that this was the most frustrating time for me, was having my girls have to face backward in the car, not that i EVER forgot them, honestly i personally cant imagine forgetting you have your baby with you, but my problem with the seats was i could never see them in the rear-view or glancing behind. at that age most baby's spit up and my feeling was i wouldn't be able to see if anything was wrong. i ended up buying a mirror that you attache on the back window, only to find out they were illegal. but i left it there. id rather pay a ticket then not be able to see my child and make sure everythings o.k. and when it was time for them to face forward i was overjoyed and alot more relaxed driving.

Sherri - posted on 07/22/2011

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Well just because you can't understand Aleksandra doesn't mean it doesn't and can't happen. Also you think any person this has ever happened too, doesn't think there child is the most important thing in the world to them???? You just must be super mom who has NEVER made a mistake with their child. Congratulations for being so perfect and judgmental.

Aleks - posted on 07/21/2011

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I am totally with Julianne Marie. HOW does one forget that one is caring for a child??????
I don't get it!!! It totally dumbfounds me how one can forget.
I for one second cannot believe it!!!!!!!
I don't recall not for once that I have fogot when I have kids with me. I get out of routine at times too. Its normal, sometimes not to be following routine. And NEVER have I forgotten that I am looking after a child - MY CHILD! The most important things/person/s in the world to me!
Sorry
In my books it is total neglect! The only time I would possibly understnad is in some kind of serious depression with psychosis. (just came to me now, that such a thing could be possible, however, not to a sane person).

[deleted account]

Sometimes I'm glad Ethan stays awake on car journeys but other times (like on longer car journeys) I wish he would just go to sleep in the the car - he only falls asleep if he is exhausted and he has been the same since he was 6 months old! My nephew on the other hand as soon as he sees the car he's asleep.

Sherri - posted on 07/20/2011

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ya Toni even my older two sleep in the car usually. My five your old still to this day doesn't make it down the street before he falls asleep and he falls asleep in the car 99% of the time.

[deleted account]

I didn't think about children sleeping until after I posted - I was thinking about Ethan who sings with me and chatters about what he can see and if Poppy cries whilst we're driving I sing to her, it is really rare my son sleeps in the car so I forgot that others do.

Maybe I'm odd but even when Ethan isn't with me (before I had Poppy) I still went to get him out the car - maybe that's my default setting.

I agree with Julianne leaving a child in a car long enough for them to die is neglectful whether by accident or on purpose BUT if it is accidental that doesn't make you a bad parent, accidents happen, none of us are perfect, but that doesn't change the fact it is neglectful.

Tara - posted on 07/20/2011

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No rear facing seats are not to blame and I don't like the fact the article suggests this. RF seats save hundreds of lives each year in accidents. They are safer for driving with a toddler or baby, but obviously not as safe for the toddler or baby if they happen to fall asleep.
However I would have to say that these parents have suffered enough and will suffer for all of time into perpetuity.
They did not kill their children through intent.
I cannot imagine doing this, however I can see how some busy, new parents could do this, I still have a hard time with it, but not so much that I would condemn them.
Jail time? no
Probation? no?
They will suffer their own internal punishment for their whole lives.
But if it brings more awareness to this potentially deadly problem than at least some good will come of these tragedies.

Sal - posted on 07/20/2011

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i have heard of children dying because they are forgotten, a colleuge of my brothers child died that way, the dad didn;t usually do the day care drop off but had to for some reason, poped bub in the car,. went to work on auto pilot (like sleep deprived parents every where) forgot about the sleeping baby, it wasn;t until the daycare rang his wife to see if the baby was sick that she range hubby to see why he wasn't there, then dad ran to the car but it was too late.....so yes babies do die in this way, by other wise good parents, i don;t know what way the seat was facing but seen as it was a younger infant i'd assume rear facing

Stifler's - posted on 07/19/2011

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No but only because from when Logan was 2 months or something I was on duramine so I had all the energy and mental alertness in the world. Or else I probably would have forgot he was, he always went to sleep in the car.

[deleted account]

Emma was there not a time when Logan was first born and you were that sleep deprived and not used to the routine of a new baby that it felt more natural to be alone?
My newborns didn't make much noise when in the car, thats how much they loved it.
I'm only saying i can see how a new parent who has never been around kids has a new baby who is fully asleep they are sleep deprived can forget for a few minute that they had a child in the car with them. When it comes to subsequent children though i believe it changes.

Stifler's - posted on 07/19/2011

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Well since I have a capsule which comes out if it's in the car I know that Renae is in the car. That and she makes noise. So WTF to forgetting your kid is in the car.

Becky - posted on 07/19/2011

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I read that wrong and was thinking hypothermia too. Yes, dying from the heat would happen much faster.
It is hard for me to imagine forgetting my children in the vehicle, but that is because I almost always have them with me! But I have definitely done the autopilot thing before - got halfway somewhere and realized I was headed to a totally different place than I'd intended to go, so I can understand how this can happen when there is a change of routine, especially with sleep-deprived new parents. Now, parents who leave their kids in the car to go shopping, yes, that is definitly neglect! But I think there are times when it is honestly just a horrible, tragic accident.
It bothers me that the article is suggesting that it is due to rear-facing carseats though. Some people are going to read that and decide, better safe than sorry and turn their children around too early. When the reality is, they are at far higher risk by being turned around too early than they are of being forgotten in the vehicle because they are in an r-f seat!

[deleted account]

Depending on the climate...it can take hours, if you are NOT attentive to your child when you are suppose to be taking care of them. its neglect. regardless if its an accident or not. You neglected to provide basic needs for your child. Neglect can be intentional or unintentional.





ne·glect/niˈglekt/

Verb: Fail to care for properly: "the old churchyard has been sadly neglected"; "some severely neglected children".

Noun: The state or fact of being uncared for:





It DOES NOT SAY if it were an accident or not in the definition. Neglect is neglect, if a child dies because they are not properly cared for, it IS neglect

Rosie - posted on 07/19/2011

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i would envision them at the babysitters or at school like they were supposed to be since that is what the normal routine is. or i would think of them and realize something was wrong immediately, but could be too late. the article isn't about children freezing to death, it's about them dying of heat HYPERthermia. it only takes a few minutes for that too happen.

[deleted account]

So you don't wonder how they are doing at the babysitters or school? thoughts like that would trigger a memory of NOT dropping them off.

Rosie - posted on 07/19/2011

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if i was at work, which is when most of the time this type of thing happens, yes.

[deleted account]

Can you honesty say you can forget the existence of your child long enough for them to freeze to death? We're not talking about a couple minutes here...

Lady Heather - posted on 07/19/2011

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My husband totally forgot to buckle Freja once when she was really small. It's easy to forget important things sometimes. When you do it's definitely a wake up call.

Mary - posted on 07/19/2011

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I just want to clarify - I think the safety benefits of RF car seats far outweigh any increased risk of a parent forgetting that their child is there. However, I do think it makes it just a bit more likely, especially when the child is sleeping.

I am ever so grateful to that poor woman who went on Oprah to share her nightmare of a story. Molly was just a few months old when I saw that, and as I said, it really shook me up. Although I had not had even a second when I had forgotten she was there, seeing that episode pretty much burned into my brain to always check the backseat before walking away from my car.

As I said, I easily see how it could happen. Molly is 2.5 now, and is adamant about climbing into both the car, and her seat "by myself". A few days ago, she did this, and while I was waiting for her to get into the seat, I got distracted by the neighbor's dog running up to greet us. We said hello, I closed the door, got into my seat, and started the car. Molly immediately piped up from the back, "Mommy, aren't you going to buckle me in?". Uh, crap....I had totally forgotten. Good thing my own little creature of habit was paying attention!

[deleted account]

Oh wow. That is ridiculous. Rear facing or not, how the hell could you "forget" you had a child with you? Thats messed up. IT has nothing to do with the car seat. ITs neglectful parenting.

Teresa - posted on 07/19/2011

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I think it could be a combination of poor parenting and the rear facing car seat but regardless, the parents are ultimately responsible.

[deleted account]

When i had each of my children i had huge anxiety about forgetting them. Anywhere anytime. This feeling happened more so with my first child. It was only ever a feeling i never actually forgot her. Well the closest i came was the first time after she came from hospital and i was going out on my own to do some shopping for the first time and when i got out of the car i locked it but immediately knew i was missing something and quickly put it all together. All i'm saying with that is i know how easy ti can be as a new parent to forget because it isn't normal in our lives yet.

I don't think RF can be blamed it is the parents fault and nothing else.

Julia - posted on 07/19/2011

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Everyone has made a good point. We are creatures of habit. It's too scary. I do sympathize with those parents because in the majority of cases the parents just "forgot". I'm sure the punishment given to themselves is more punishment than they need. I'm always checking the backseat as that is part of my routine...even when I'm childless. Just sad

Jenn - posted on 07/19/2011

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It absolutely has to do more with distractions than which way a child is facing in their seat. Too often parents try to multi-task rather than complete one mission before going on the next. Getting from point A to point B is the purpose of getting in a vehicle. People forget their sleeping or quiet child all the time. We just read about the ones who got very unlucky or caught doing it.

My best friend had her newborn that she was tending to as well as her Golden Retriever that she taking to her inlaws to visit. She and baby got out and completely forgot about her well-behaved big dog. He nearly died. It was TERRIBLE and as odd as it may seem, that was my lesson for never forgetting who is in the car with me. Slow down and pay attention to my surroundings.

Also, I never EVER EVER leave my children in the vehicle unattended. I just cannot fathom anything that can't wait a few minutes for me to unload my children and haul them in...even if it is miserable for everyone involved!

Tanya - posted on 07/19/2011

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Nope, not at all. When I look in my rearview mirror, I can see my RFing toddler. Plus, every time I get out of the car, I check the back seat. It's just habit. I've been doing it since before I had kids, but now that I do have kids, it's just that much more important.

Sherri - posted on 07/19/2011

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I did it with my youngest and he was in a front facing seat when he was about 3. He had fallen alseep in the car. I was getting all the other kids in the car out and I thought my husband had grabbed him and put him in his bed and it wasn't till I went to check on him about 15mins later did we realize he was still in the car.

FYI I NEVER interact with my kids in the car. They are expected to sit there and speak quietly amongst themselves etc. I am with them 24/7 7days a week. In the car it is quiet time period, I interact with them all day everyday but NOT in the car. My older two will read or draw. My youngest usually sleeps. My job in the car is to have zero distractions and pay attention to the road not my kids.

Mary - posted on 07/19/2011

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Any of you see that episode of Oprah with the woman who did leave her child in the car all day, in over 80 degree temps, and the baby died? It's been a couple of years, but that really rocked me to my core. THe thing is, after hearing her story, I totally understood how it could happen, and I didn't come away from it thinking she was either a bad person, or even a particularly negligent mother.



I cannot remember all of the exact details, but it happened on a day where her routine was broken. Her husband normally took the kid to daycare, but for whatever reason, she had her that day. SHe got in the car, and started driving. Probably zoned out, and the baby fell asleep, or at least, was not making any noise. She fell into her groove, and just drove straight to work, got out of her car, and went about her day, never realizing that the baby was in the car.



I do see how that can happen, even to the best of us. I remember right after I moved into a new home that was only a few miles away from where I had lived. On more than one occasion, I would be driving home from work, only to realize I had driven into the old development, and not my current one. We are all creatures of habit.



After I watched that episode, I became absolutely fanatical about always leaving my bag in the backseat next to her as a sort of fail safe. Luckily, even when I was working, my schedule was erratic, so I was not in any deeply ingrained pattern when it came to having her in the car. As well, I have that weird kid who almost never sleeps in the car, and yaps away at me the entire time. However, I do think we are more interactive since she has been front-facing.



I don't think rear-facing is entirely to blame, but I do think it can be a contributing factor, especially if you have a kid who is prone to sleeping in the car ( my sister' kids, even at 7& 9, have been know to fall asleep on a five minute drive to the grocery store).



It's horrible, yes, but like Dyan, I have a bit of compassion for these parents, and am a little less quick to condemn them.

Amber - posted on 07/19/2011

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I think it probably has more to do with distractions or being new parents than whether the car seat is rear facing.

I would assume that the majority of babies forgotten would be rear facing. Having an infant is new to the parents' routines and getting them out isn't something that comes automatically to mind without really thinking about it.

They are also younger than forward facing children, which means that they are more likely to sleep through the entire car ride, making it easy to forget they are there. Older children are awake and babbling/talking to mom or dad.

Then you add cell phone conversations, radios, traffic, and whatever might be on the parents' mind (work, dinner, spouse) and their brains are a million miles away.

Correlation is not necessarily causation, and I doubt the two things are linked in this case.

[deleted account]

If parents are forgetting their children that means they aren't interacting with them while on car journeys, to me that is just sad.

Rosie - posted on 07/19/2011

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neither really. i have left my child in a car strapped in his forward facing carseat. was i neglectful? not on purpose no. accidents happen. i have nothing but sympathy for people who do this and lose their children. i understand how easy it can be to do this, all it takes is a change in your routine and you are thrown off.

Julia - posted on 07/19/2011

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I agree...I don't see how anyone can not remember their children. But people claim this defense and they might get a neglect charge? Seems insane to me.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/19/2011

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I don't see the rear facing car seats being able to take the blame. You forget your kid, it is your fault.

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