Forward facing vs Rear facing

Michelle - posted on 11/19/2009 ( 26 moms have responded )

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As we approach the year mark and 20lbs, I can not decide if I need to continue to a convertible to remain rear facing or just change to forward facing. Give me some suggestions, please.

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Susan - posted on 11/20/2009

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Scrunched legs are neither unsafe or uncomortable for young children. The risk of leg injuries goes UP when children are forward facing. You can teach children to seat criss cross applesauce, hang legs over the sides of seats, frog leg up or rest them against the back of the vehicle seats.



Watch your child play and move around and see how often their legs are scrunched or in positions we would find uncomfortable.



Susan

Susan - posted on 11/20/2009

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Hi!



I'm a Car Seat Tech. ALL the current research (and info from Sweden from the last 40 years) says that Rear Facing as long as possible is best for our babies. My son is 10 1/2 months old and just over 20 pounds. He will remain rear facing in a convertible carseat until he is at least 3 yrs old, hopefully four. There are seats on the market that go to 40 and 45 pounds rear facing now.



We know that rear facing keeps the neck in line during a crash and protects the spinal cord. Take a look at www.joelsjourney.com for what can happen to a young child if they are forward facing in a crash.



Also---take the time to go to a car seat inspection. If you are using your car seat incorrectly, there can be deadly consequences.





And Lydia---there isn't a seat in the US or Canada that legally allows you to put a child under 1 year forward facing. All of them say in their instructions that the child must be at least 1 year old before installing the seat forward facing---or using a forward facing only seat.



Susan

CPST since Nov 2007

Christi - posted on 11/19/2009

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you cannot turn the baby around until they are 20lbs AND one year. my son is ten months and already 25lbs, but he cannot turn around until he is one. just wait another month until his bday. we are going to have a little carseat-turning-around ceremony, lol.

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Hannah - posted on 12/07/2009

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Thanks Susan. My daughter will be rear-facing until 35lbs with the recaro signo.

Susan - posted on 12/07/2009

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The Graco MyRide 65 goes to 40 pounds RF. Some of the Sunshine Kids Radian 65 and 80s go to 40 or 45 lbs RF---based on manufacture dates...check the info on the individual seat. The Safety 1st Complete Air goes to 40 lbs RF as well. My son's seat goes to 35 pounds RF. I got it right after the MyRide came out. Then the 45 lb RF limit Radians came out shortly their after. Once Nicholas meets the weight limit of his seat RF, I'll take into consideration his age and determine whether or not he needs to continue RF....ie young 2...ABSOLUTELY, close to 4--probably not.

NHTSA, AAP, Transport Canada, and Safe Kids all reccomend RF to the limits of the seat. So I don't know who "they" are. The old 1 and 20 reccomendation comes out of the fact there there used to be zero seats on the market that RF past 20 pounds. That info is a good 10 years old.

Susan

Hannah - posted on 12/07/2009

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I use the Recaro Signo rear-facing. It is 5-35 lbs, rear-facing. And 20-70 lbs and AT LEAST 1 year forward facing. I will not be turning my daughter around until she is 35 lbs. That could be a while, because she is going to be 1 on Christmas and is just 18 lbs.... so hopefully she wont hit the 35 lb mark too soon.



Susan, can you tell me which carseats are 40-45 lbs rear-facing so I will know for future children? Thanks.

Alanna - posted on 12/06/2009

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My personal opinion, leave them backwards for as long as you can...after being informed that their neck muscles arent strong enough to absorb a vehicle impact like ours can, I decided to leave my little guy facing the rear until at least spring time ( around 16+ months). I would rather him be safe even if its a pain in the bum trying to get him in the carseat that is rear facing! But "they" recommend 20lbs and 12 months of age. Congrats on your little baby reaching another milstone!

Susan - posted on 12/06/2009

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Quoting gypsyfromsm:

In Response to Susan advising Lydia.
FYI...I have the RECARO car seat and it shows on the manual once the baby is between 19lbs and 25 lbs it's really your choice if you want to face them forward or rear! So are you saying RECARO is doing this illegally??!! Please explain.
thank you



I can tell just by the weight limits that is not a seat that is legal to use in the US.  FMVSS 213 says that seats for FF cannot be used  FF until a minimum of 20 pounds and 1 year of age.  So in the US....that is an illegal seat. 



This is a very global community.  So there is a wide range of what is acceptable in each country.  That doesn't mean it's safe though.  And the laws of physics are the same no matter if you are in the US, Germany, France, China or Austrilia. 



As far as minimums go---1 yr and 20 pounds is the MINIMUM to face forward in the car in the US(and Canada, I think).  Now in the US---you only have to go high school until you are 16 yrs old---10th grade.  Now I'd like to think that all of us would want our children to acheive well beyond the minimum in their academic persuits.  Sweden has the strictest law for rear facing---45 -55 pounds.  So a good 4 years or longer.  They also have the lowest death rate per capita of children 0-4 being killed in car crashes.



Google "extended rear facing" and read and watch the videos for 10 minutes.  Also www.joelsjourney.com is a great story of what can happen to a properly secured forward facing child.  It's not just about having the straps tight.



Susan

Amanda - posted on 12/03/2009

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There is a study now that states a child should stay rear facing until they are 3 years old because it is so much safer for them. This would pose a big problem for most kids, but I guess they make seats that let their legs go to the sides so it is a little more comfortable, but I know from my oldest that making a child sit facing the rear will get very boring because there is nothing to look at. The new research does say it is better to keep them rear facing for as long as possible though, so it is something you should discuss with your doctor and decide together.

Erin - posted on 12/03/2009

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I am going to wait, I didn't know much when I got my first car seat and I can keep rear facing until 40 lbs, I am so happy now after a little research that I made that choice. I agree that it isn't worth the risk. They have plenty of time to sit foward/

Claire - posted on 12/02/2009

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I would say leave your bub backwards as long as possible! It's not a matter of them being strong enough, but it's the fact that their heads are very heavy for their bodies, and in an accident, their spinal cord just stretches so far it causes irreparable damage. Let alone the fact that the seatbelt squishes their already squishy ribs and other can do major damage to internal organs.

I think someone did a link up earlier for joelsjourney.com - if that's what I think it is, watch it. A 3 year old died just coz he was in a forward facing seat. If he was backwards, he would have been fine.

I'm in Australia, and the laws here are so slack. Most of my friends turned their babies around at 6 months. I was about to, and then I did research and realised how unsafe it was.

I thought my son was grumpy coz his carseat was backwards. But I just changed some of his toys, and he's perfectly happy again.

Please keep the carseat backwards - is it worth the risk?

Andrea - posted on 11/29/2009

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I suggest leaving your baby RF until past the 1st birthday. Rear facing is much safer- those guidelines are the minimum. I plan on keeping my daughter RF until 18-24 months.

[deleted account]

In Response to Susan advising Lydia.
FYI...I have the RECARO car seat and it shows on the manual once the baby is between 19lbs and 25 lbs it's really your choice if you want to face them forward or rear! So are you saying RECARO is doing this illegally??!! Please explain.
thank you

Sophia - posted on 11/24/2009

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I say, take everyones opinion as opinions. follow your states legal requirements of course. Your are the mother, go with your gut and do what you think is best for your child. every child is different. My 11 month old just moved to forward faceing (legally) and he loves it. His straps are very securely tightened. He is not going anywhere :)

Jennifer - posted on 11/24/2009

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Jake will be RFing until he's 33lbs in his Britax Marathon. with all the info out there about how much safer it is to do so, I haven't a clue why anyone would choose to do it sooner than that.

Christine - posted on 11/24/2009

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I recently read on my car seat that it is 22lbs AND 1 year old in order to be front facing.

Shalom - posted on 11/21/2009

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Here's what Transport Canada has to say about the subject:

"Don't be in a hurry to start using a forward-facing child seat. The longer you use a rear-facing infant-only seat, infant /child seat, or infant/child/booster seat that fits correctly, even past your baby's first birthday, the safer your baby will be in a crash. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for use and check the label for the weight and height that are allowed."


The American Academy of Pediatrics has a bit more to say, and recently released this:


New advice: Rear-facing car seats safer for children until they are 2

by Lori O’Keefe • Correspondent

Toddlers between the ages of 12 and 23 months who ride rear-facing in a car safety seat are more than five times safer than toddlers in that same age group who ride forward-facing in a car seat.
Overall, children under the age of 2 are 75% less likely to die or experience a serious injury when they ride in a rear-facing car seat, according to the first U.S. data to substantiate the benefits of toddlers riding rear-facing until they are almost 2 years old (Henary B, et al. Inj Prev. 2007;13:398-402).
There is a common myth that rear-facing toddlers whose feet reach the back of the vehicle seat are more likely to suffer injuries to the lower extremities in a car accident, according to a commentary co-written by Marilyn J. Bull, M.D., FAAP, AAP District V chair and one of the co-authors of the study. However, lower extremity injuries are rare with rear-facing seats, Dr. Bull wrote in the commentary (Bull MJ, Durbin DR. Pediatrics. 2008;121:619-620).
Rear-facing seats are more likely to support the back, neck, head and pelvis because the force of a crash is distributed evenly over the entire body. Forward-facing children are more likely to be injured because the force of the crash is concentrated on seat belt contact points, and younger children’s heads are disproportionately large for their small, weak necks, according to the study.
“I teach my medical students that parents worry about leg injuries but that it is far better to send children to orthopedic specialists to have lower extremities treated than to send them to neurological specialists to have cervical spine injuries treated,” said Dr. Bull. “I put it into the context of rehabilitation potential: fracture vs. paralysis.”
In Sweden, children ride in rear-facing seats until the age of 4, which has been proven to be 90% effective compared to children who ride unrestrained. However, car seats are engineered differently in Sweden to allow older toddlers to remain rear-facing longer.
“Since motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death in children, the Academy must do whatever it can to educate our members and the general public about the safest ways for children to ride in motor vehicles,” said AAP President David T. Tayloe Jr., M.D., FAAP. “We should make sure all of our members know to encourage parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats as long as they do not exceed the size limits of the car seats.”
Dr. Bull noted that it takes less than 30 seconds to tell parents that children are five times safer riding rear-facing until their second birthday — a statistic that is likely to stick with parents.

Kelle - posted on 11/21/2009

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I recommend IMO that you keep your child in the carseat rear-facing for as long as the carseats allows. Like if it says, rear-facing to 32lb... keep them in for that long even if its not until they are 1.5yr old or older.

Stacey - posted on 11/21/2009

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i have had my daughter turned around from when she was like 4 months my car seat can turn them around at 9 kg i live in australia

Susan - posted on 11/21/2009

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I didn't realize how global this circle is. I know in England and some other euro countries is the norm to turn kids when they hit 9k(I think that's the weight) which is pretty close to our 20 pounds. I do know that at least in England, the "Stay Rear Facing" message is starting to get out, but I don't know if the seats have caught up with the message just yet. Here in the states we've been saying to stay rear facing for over 5 years and we've just gotten seats that rear face to 40 pounds since April or May.

Lydia - posted on 11/21/2009

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Quoting Susan:

And Lydia---there isn't a seat in the US or Canada that legally allows you to put a child under 1 year forward facing. All of them say in their instructions that the child must be at least 1 year old before installing the seat forward facing---or using a forward facing only seat.




I wouldnt (couldnt) argue with that as I dont live in either. This is why I recommend checking the legal requirements in the individuals area. I would also never recommend using a car seat in any other way than the manufacturers advise. On top of that I recommend that all car seats are checked by professionals to ensure they are fitted correctly and rechecked if/when turned around...it doesnt matter which way they face if the seat isnt properly secured in the first place

Sharina - posted on 11/20/2009

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I agree with Christi. Jaxyn is our ninth child all together. We will have a fun day on his twelve month birthday. We throw all the bottles away and turn his car seat around. It's a huge milestone. It's only a few more weeks. It's for his safety. Please keep your baby rear facing until the big day!

[deleted account]

how do you adjust the seat so that their legs fit still in rearfacing?? my babies legs are scrunched against the seat!

[deleted account]

I have watched many crash tests and I have decided to keep my daughter refacing for a while longer. I didn't do the extended rear facing with my older daughter beacuse I didn't know there was a reason to do it. But I would recommend watching some and then you can make your decision.

Brittany - posted on 11/20/2009

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I've actually gotten my 1st car seat that wont restrict my little boy when he turns one. He is pushing 20lbs now, but my doctor AND my stepmother (who is a nurse) recommends that I still put that car seat facing the rear. They're saying that studies are showing that it will be a whole lot safer that way, even though they are 20+ lbs. When a child reaches the 3yr old mark, then turn the seat frontwards. The best part about these new seats means that it can hold the child until they are 60lbs! It's nice that I wont have to purchase a booster seat until my little boy is about 6 or 7.

Lydia - posted on 11/20/2009

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You need to check legal requirements where you live. My daughter has been face-forward since about 7-8 months (legally). However there are alot of groups suggesting that you basically keep them back-facing for as long as you can for safety in case of accident...its best to just do as much research as you can and then make your decision based on that

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