CAR SEAT REAR Vs. FORWARD FACING

Nicole - posted on 03/11/2010 ( 93 moms have responded )

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I'm confused about what I should be doing.. the car seat should be rear facing until 1yr old but best practice according to state of CT is as long as the car seat will allow. Well my daughter is now sitting cross legged in the seat rear facing, in speaking with my pediatrician he said as long as she is walking she has enough strength in her spine and neck to be forward facing. My friend called me today confused because her pediatrician told her to keep her daughter rear facing until 2yrs old and that in Europe they have car seats that keep kids rear facing until they're 4. Just wandering what other moms out there are doing. THANKS! -Nicole

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Sarah - posted on 03/15/2010

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The law in (most) states is one year and 20 lbs, however I have heard that it is better to wait as long as possible to turn them around. As people pointed out it is about neck strength. Personally my daughter is 14 mths but small, about 28 inches and 19 lbs. I plan on waiting until at least 18 mths but longer if she's still comfortable. She is happy rear-facing: looking out the window, looking at her mirror, playing with toys.
Here is a true story on YouTube about the importance of rear-facing:


And here are some links for more information:
http://www.cpsafety.com/
http://www.carsafety4kids.com/rearfacing...
http://www.stlouischildrens.org/content/...

Tiffany - posted on 03/13/2010

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Rear facing is 500 times safer than FF. It's even safer for adults. If you read the car-seat.org forums you'll see most techs recommend RFing for as long as possible (and the goal is 4 years old). http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html

US law is age one AND 20 lbs. Not one or the other.

I have a Swedish Britax Two Way Elite that RF to 55 lbs. DD is now 14 months and will remain RFing for as long as I can convince her it's her only option ;)

Christine - posted on 03/27/2010

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the new guidelines say TWO YEARS OLD now!

Keep your child rear facing AS LONG AS POSSIBLE! it's the safest option and any car seat installer/ police officer will tell you the same. my son like all your kids are around 14-15 months and more than likely should stay rear facing. of course if the child's legs are cramped and it's becoming a problem (if he or she is upset) then i would forward face it. but seriously, try and keep it rear facing until 16 months at least.

Kerri - posted on 03/26/2010

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My daughter is almost 15 months old and she is still rear facing. My ped said basically until her knees are at her ears to leave her that way. She isn't missing anything and a broken leg is better than a broken neck. She was walking at 9 and a half months so i woukd have never turned her then. Besides she has her 3 month old brother to keep her company in the back

Michelle - posted on 03/19/2010

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The American Academy of Pediatrics for 2010 recommends that children stay rear-facing as long as they meet the height and weight limits of their convertible seat. http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.h...
Here is a crash test that compares a small child riding rear-facing versus front-facing:

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Your pediatrician is not up to date on the AAP's current guidelines, which read:
"It is best for children to ride rear-facing as long as possible to the highest weight and height allowed by the manufacturer of their convertible seat. "
and
"Use a seat that can be used rear-facing to higher weights and keep your baby rear-facing as long as possible into the second year of life."

Phoebe - posted on 05/14/2010

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My car seat has specifications to allow the child to stay in a rear facing positon until 12kgs, so that's what I'm dong. My twins are 14 months and around 11kg each.
I've been advised by a few people in the medical industry that you should leave them in a rear facing position as long as the seat will allow (there will be a weight limit somehwere in the instruction book). This is to avoid neck injuries.

Susan - posted on 03/31/2010

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I went through the same struggle. Moved him forward facing for a couple of weeks and then after reading the carseat manual, changed him back to rear facing. Orbit says until 2 also, I changed him out of habit not based on the new facts that rear facing is indeed safer. My son's legs are not long enough yet to be a problem but I can see that it's going to be difficult soon. If it starts to seem really uncomfortable for him, I'll be at the struggle again!

Nikki - posted on 03/31/2010

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends your child be rear facing as long as possible and no earlier than 12 months and 20 pounds. Most car seats have a rear facing weight limit. Mine is 35 lbs I believe. My daughter is 14 1/2 months and is still rear facing. I am planning to do this for a while longer. She is pretty tall, so may not be able to sit comfortably this way for too much longer. So, until they outgrow the rear facing weight and height limits, they should be rear facing.

Elizabeth - posted on 03/30/2010

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I have two children, one is 2 and one is 1, both FF carseats. My friend is a firefighter and recommends RF as long as possible, but the carseats we bought weren't FF and RF capable, so we didn't want to spend more money.
My biggest concern when reading the posts on this issue is all the parents saying they switched their child BEFORE they turned one. I know in the U.S. it is law that the child is 20lbs AND 1 year old. It is against the law to switch before the first birthday. If you are pulled over and the officer suspects the child is younger, the parent will be reqiured to show proof of age in court. Just a heads up! I don't know about laws outside of the U.S., so this only applies in the states.

Stephanie - posted on 03/30/2010

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I'm glad to see the majority of moms did the research and know that head control and legs have nothing to do with turning them forward facing.Rear facing is Safer no matter what excuses you use for turning them, and any doctor that tells you its OK because they have good head control should loose their license.
and for the woman who asked about booster seats the recommended age is 6-7 years and 65-80lbs. no child under 4 AND 40lbs should be in a booster seat.

Christine - posted on 03/29/2010

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aaah seriously THE LEGS DO NOT MATTER!!!!! it is still SO MUCH SAFER to keep your child rear facing despite your child sitting cross legged- this has nothing to do with the safety of it. everyone here should go to a car seat check point and make sure their car seat is in efficiently. sooo many people put them in the wrong way and it can really cause a lot of damage. mine wasn't in as tight as it should have been and this would have posed a major threat to my son's well being. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE KEEP YOUR KID REAR FACING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kari - posted on 03/28/2010

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I was told by a car seat tech that there is a bone in the neck that is not formed until two or so and can be broken in an accident and cause death if you go forward facing too soon even if they meet the requirments. I bought the transitional carseat and kept my daughter rear facing till almost two. I don't know if it's true but why would the lady lie. My newest daughter is still too small even for the minimum requirments and thats fine with me I would rathe be safe then sorry.

Melonie - posted on 03/28/2010

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I'm pondering the same question.. but we were in an accident where an older car, made of steel, rear ended us. My daughter has been holding her head up since almost birth, but she was rear facing when the accident occurred (which totalled the car), and she had NO injuries, while I've had lots of soft tissue damage in result. Our Pediatrician says to keep her RF as long as you can, because its safer and she doesn't know any differently.. At this point, she has grown out of her infant seat finally (she's petite) and we will get a convertible seat and keep her RF until we are more comfortable with switching it. We have also strategically placed a plastic mirror for her to see behind her, and we can see her face from the rear view mirror. Our set up works well for us. I say it doesn't hurt anyone to take your time on switching to FF. Also, my daughter cries often when we put her in her seat, but its because she doesn't like to be restrained... and I tell her "that's just life!" lol She's gotten a lot better about it now because our trips to the store are short and I put her in the shopping cart seat which she LOVES... so everyone is happy.
Good luck on making a decision! :-)

Jesica - posted on 03/28/2010

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Look at the weight limit on your seat... if you daughter is over the weight limit on your rear facing seat it is time to flip her. and not to mention her sitting cross legged cannot me safe or comfortable for her. good luck!

Sara - posted on 03/27/2010

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Wow, interesting about the European codes. I would definitely keep your child rear facing until she meets our codes. I have a very tall girl and when she turned one it seemed more dangerous to me to keep her rear facing with her legs and feet more than touching the seat and if we got into an accident, her legs could be badly injured. She loves being forward facing and she's in a very safe and sturdy car seat.

Christine - posted on 03/27/2010

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lateisha- she is too small to be sitting rear facing. yes kids legs are too long but it really doesn't bother them, well most anyway. your daughter is very petite and MUST remain rear facing for her safety.

Sarah - posted on 03/26/2010

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I don't buy into the whole "they wouldn't sell FF seats if they weren't safe" thing. Of course they are safe. They are safer than just having a baby sat on the seat of a car or laid in a carry cot which is how my mum used to travel with me 28 years ago.

Extended rear facing seats are SAFER. Just as a forward facing seat is safer than no seat at all and was introduced a while ago now, rear facing seats are safer than forward facing and are recently becoming the more recommended option.

Science and technology discovers safer ways to do things all the time. Just because something has been done a certain was for a while or just because a majority do it that way does not mean that it's the best option. It's up to you as a parent to research every available option and choose the safest and best option for your family, regardless of what anyone else "assures" you of.

At the end of the day, when an accident happens, it is you who has to live with the aftermath. If you know for a fact you would understand that you had your child in the safest possible carseat that's fine. It's your child and you live with the consequencces of your decisions.

Alexandrea - posted on 03/25/2010

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Extended rear facing is now being recommended by alot of pedis and there are talks of it becoming the new law, replacing the 1 year AND 20 lbs.My son is 14 months and about 27 pounds and he will stay rear facing as long as I can find a carseat to hold him that way. It is SO MUCH safer. My son's legs do touch the backseat and he has a blast kicking it but I would much rather risk broken legs then spinal injuries, wouldn't you?
In many other countries you can get car seats that rear face till 3 or 4 but here it looks we are just lazy and don't care enough to do our research.

Elizabeth - posted on 03/25/2010

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We were in the same boat, but our baby is very tall and we just opted to turn him forward facing on his 1st birthday. I know they're suggesting longer rear-facing and it is proven safer, but I can't let him sit there with his knees in his chest!

Jessica - posted on 03/25/2010

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I switched my DD forward facing at 12 months. My DD is very tall on her 1st Bday she weighed 22 lbs and was 32 inches tall. She was far too cramped to RF. I was fine with switching her as I firmly believe that if the crash is severe enough then she's going to get hurt no matter which way she's facing.

LaTasha - posted on 03/25/2010

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I live in NY and my daughter is 15 months old, she has been walking since she was 8 months old. in January she was diagnosed with RSV an infant respiratory virus because of this she lost a lot of weight, right now she weighs 18lbs 6oz, and according to her weight is not ready for a front facing car seat. But because she is tall for her age, she can no longer sit rear facing because she cannot stretch her legs out properly, so I am switching her to a front facing car seat.

Crystal - posted on 03/25/2010

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We just bought my 14mnth old daughter her new car seat. her legs were starting to run out of room with her old car seat. So i have decided to face her forward. She loves it! I think it just depends on how you feel. I thought it was just time to FF.

Lori - posted on 03/25/2010

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My son is 14mths and is forward facing. As long as your child is 20lbs and a year has good neck support. My son is 27lbs now. He loves facing forward he can see everything.

Nicole - posted on 03/24/2010

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My suggestion is for you to do what you think is best for your child. No one else knows what's best but you! Go with your gut. Consider how comfortable or uncomfortable your daughter is sitting in a rear-facing carseat. Good Luck.

~Nicole~

Kristina - posted on 03/23/2010

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My little guy is 14 mos and I still have him rear facing. He is not quite 22 lbs, but he is tall. I think rear facing is the safest option. I just switched him to a convertible Britax car seat, he was too tall for his infant carrier.

DACENE - posted on 03/23/2010

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I'M FROM NY & HAVE ALSO HEARD DIFFERENT STORIES ABOUT THIS. WHILE EACH STATE HAS THEIR OWN REQUIREMENTS, I CAN TELL YOU THAT I BELIEVE REAR FACING IS BEST. IS IT ILLEGAL NOT TO TURN THE SEAT AROUND?? NOT SURE!! BUT, AFTER BEING INVOLVED IN A CAR ACCIDENT & HEARING THAT MY BABY'S INJURIES COULD'VE BEEN MORE SEVERE BECAUSE OF WHIP-LASH IF SHE HAD ALREADY REACHED THE 1YR/ 20 LB REQUIREMENTS. I'VE DECIDED TO LEAVE IT BACKWARDS FOR A WHILE. NORMALLY YOUR COUNTY HEALTH DEPT. WILL HAVE CAR SEAT SAFETY CHECKS WITH THE LOCAL POLICE- THEY ARE THE BEST TO ASK.. HOPE IT HELPS!! DACENE

Brenda - posted on 03/23/2010

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i dont understand how a child can sit in a rear facing car seat comfortably at 2 years old....or even 1 year....my son was 20lbs at almost nine months...he is now 14 months and 23lbs...he is too big to be rear facing. I am confused now.
lol

Laurie - posted on 03/23/2010

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The previous recommendation was that the car seat should be rear facing until 1 year and 20 pounds. Recent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, however, are that research is showing that kids are safer rear facing until 2 years. I read the information on their web site, and it is pretty compelling. Keep in mind that the state regulations are almost always going to lag behind the recommendations of MDs. Our pediatrician recommended keeping our daughter rear facing unless she pitched a huge fit or was cramped. We bought a convertible seat so the latter issue is not a problem. We have a three year old who was changed to forward facing on her first bday, but the recent information was not available. It makes me sad that I can't look at my younger daughter as soon as I could with my older one, but safety is more important (both for her and me - minimizes distraction). When in the car alone, our younger daughter does NOT seem bothered at all; I mean she really doesn't know any different. Luckily for us, our girls can see each other better with the setup.

Rachel - posted on 03/23/2010

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Jason is 14 months and front facing. We turned him at a year old. His legs are sooooooooooo long...when he was rear facing he looked like a grasshopper with folded legs everywhere. Our pediatrician said it was good. I trust her! That helps!

Tiffany - posted on 03/22/2010

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The simple and straight foward answer...Every car seat is different...On the side of each car seat there is a sticker that explains the weight limitations and rear and foward facing regulations...I know each state regulates these but you also have to keep in mind that each seat is different. If the state says foward but the seat says hes not big enough the car seat is right...if the state say backwards and the seat say foward...then the state is correct...state rules trump ...the seat regulations....

Makayla - posted on 03/22/2010

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My son is 14 months and we just switched his (convertible) carseat around to face front. He is 30lbs and 32inches tall. We had the same problem with his legs being to long for rear facing. Everybody will give you tons of opinions on this topic....but they are just that, opinons. I'd say trust your gut instinct....if you don't feel right turning the carseat around yet, don't. It was recommended that we don't do it just yet....but you know your child better than anyone, and every child is different. My husband and I felt he was ready. You may feel just fine turning your first child around at 12 months, but your next one you might not turn their seat around until much later. Trust your gut. Hope this was helpful. Good luck!!

Rya - posted on 03/22/2010

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My 14 month old is still rear facing and will be as long as her seat allows. My 2.5 year old was rear-facing until about 2 years which is when he outgrew his seat by height. I am a strong believer in extended rear facing, but I know it's not for everyone. If I had the money I'd get these seats that are taller and allow rear facing up to 45lbs(also assuming they'd even fit in my car! lol)

Jen - posted on 03/22/2010

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I have to say that my daughter was rear facing until she was just over 2 years old. She has very long legs, but as I read somewhere (I think the American Academy of Pediatrics) I would rather she have broken legs than internal injuries! My son is now in a convertible seat at 14 months and will remain rear facing as long as possible for the weight suggestion of his car seat, hopefully after 2 years old also.

C - posted on 03/22/2010

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i'll b honest with u i turned my sons carseat early because his feet were touching the seat and he would get mad so we turned him at about 9 months but my son is long. If u ask me when i feel that it is ok i would or read on ur carseat and c what they want u to do but i know here in LA says 2 if u can.

Karen - posted on 03/21/2010

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If your car's forward momentum is suddenly interrupted, by either you hitting an object or someone else hitting you, the inertia of the passengers will continue to move forward/toward the front of the car. A child RFing will have the impact distributed by the seat, but FFing will all be in the neck. I just read an article that a toddler is 40x safer RFing in a collision than FFing.

Once your child meets the minimum age/weight requirements and you feel s/he has a strong neck, then turning the child around is at your discretion. I just ask you to remember that the law is a minimum, and not a standard.

Personally, my first daughter was RFing until 23 months (I was going for 2yrs, but her baby sister needed the carseat). Her little sister is now 14 months and still RFing. My goal is her 2nd birthday, but we'll play it by ear... I might turn her around sooner in the secondary vehicle. My 2.5 year old will still sit in the RFing carseat if we let her.

Most toddlers will cross their legs or hang them over the carseat and basically just not care where their legs are, so that is not one of my concerns. They are young and flexible! Maybe I've been blessed with children who do not hate the carseat, but I also believe that occasional crying when getting in is normal behavior and will pass with consistent parenting. Carseat safety is just not an optional item. If your child is absolutely a bear in the car, then you might turn them around or try another model carseat that fits your child better.

Sarah - posted on 03/21/2010

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I turned my son around on his first birthday. He was over the 20 pounds and offically one year old.

Wendy - posted on 03/21/2010

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Rear facing as long as possible! I moved my older son to FF when he was 26 months old. Children between the ages of 1-2 have increased injuries because parents rush to move kids FF too soon. Rear facing is much more protective for neck and spine. If you do the research, the evidence is unequivocal.

Jasmin - posted on 03/21/2010

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yeah i'm so confused to...on the odd occasion when we've travelled and rented a car with a seat they have put it in forward facing and she absolutely loved it,but then i heard of all these new studies saying to keep them rearward as long as possible and to keep them in car seat so much longer in general.now there's even talk of new laws in aus.being brought in....so yeah,what do you do?she's starting to be able to put her feet on the back of the actual seat now when she stretches out but not yet cramped,so i'm going to leave her rearward for a while longer...better to be safe than sorry as the saying goes.i think we're all in the same bout confusion wise! :)

[deleted account]

If that's fine for you Melinda so be it. I have been informed many times with all my girls (of which I have four), thank you very much, you have just turned me off of this forum of which I am now leaving as this is a place for opinions to give to the posters, not for others to go on about it. Goodbye.

Melinda - posted on 03/20/2010

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Edwina my son was born with a condition called PRS where his tongue would go back into his throat and block his air ways. He was on a pulse/ox monitor for most of his 1st year. If your daughter has breathing issues you should take it up with your doctor. I understand what it is to be scared of your child not breathing. If we took long care rides one of us would sit beside him even thought he did have a monitor. I still think RF is the best for children. If you look at the video's you can see how their bodies go in a crash. Anyways... it doesn't hurt to keep them RF and no one is accusing anyone of being a bad parent for turning them around. We just want you to be as informed as you possibly can and then make a decision. =)

[deleted account]

I don't care what anyone thinks, we turned our daughter around @ 11mths as she was outgrowing the RF option (her head is a big as our 3yo's already @ 14mths)... We hated her being RF as she aspirated @ 9 days, so whenever she started gasping or coughing in the car we would panic and because we have a van (as we have 4 children) I can't just hop up and see her. I like it now as I can be sure, as I can see her, she's not gasping for breath and not choking, so what's the better option when something like this has happened?? Anything can happen and no matter what we do we can be prepared for everything, we can do all we can to try and be, but it's not up to us...

Melinda - posted on 03/20/2010

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Well I have a convertible carseat that we have been using since my son was 9 months old. He is really tall and he grew out of his baby seat by then. His carseat says that he can sit in it rear facing until 35 lbs. I am holding to that standard. Its ok for your daughter to be cross legged. As long as she is confortable I would keep her rear facing until 35 lb or 3 years old. I mean it is better to be safer right? I have seen the car test videos and it's convinced me that they should sit rear facing. I like in an area where a lot of drivers are very unpredictable and we could very well get in an accident. My husband has been in 4 and he's lived all his life in this area. I have been in none and I grew up in an area with less traffic. I don't think it is unsafe for a child to sit rear facing but there is evidence that it could be unsafe to turn them around too early.

Denise - posted on 03/20/2010

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my daughter is 14 months and front facing. she outgrew the rear facing infant car seat so at about 13 months (and after she met the height/weight requirement) we moved her into a new front facing seat and she quite enjoys it. they wouldn't sell front facing seats for children that small if they were hazardous.

Krystal - posted on 03/19/2010

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I was a licensed car seat technician and we tell people until ONE AND 20 LBS...legally! I mean it's always the safer choice anyway, but, once their legs are bending too much facing the back, they have just outgrown rear-facing...once my son turned one, I did forward facing and just prayed that he would stay safe...

Jacqueline - posted on 03/18/2010

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I live in Australia and the law has only just changed. With my boys they were rear facing until 6 months. Now the law is 12 months. I will be keeping my new bub in rear facing till 12 months if not more.
Car seats in Australia are only just being made to go rear facing till 12 kg before it was 8kgs.

Crystal - posted on 03/18/2010

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Why is it safer for baby to remain rear facing for as long as possible? The AAP’s findings note: “When an accident occurs and a child is rear facing the force of the accident is distributed evenly over the entire body, forward facing children, because the force of the car crash is concentrated on seat belt contact points, can suffer from neck and head injuries because children’s necks are weak and their heads are disproportionately large for their little necks.”

the preceeding was copy and pasted from this site;
http://blog.babyready.ca/2009/08/rear-fa...

Crystal - posted on 03/18/2010

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my son is 14 months old and small for his age, so is still in the infant seat, but the safest position for a child/baby is rear facing. Legs crossed is fine. He used to cry in the car all the time, but after attending a SEATS program, we learned how to properly use the car seat and ensured to have it installed properly, as well as our ds strapped in properly. We learned that the handle of the car seat should be back in the locked position while in the car and that it needs to have free range of movement in order to do what it is designed to do in an impact (meaning that the front seat shouldn't be touching it). This meant that the passenger seat in the front had to be quite far forward. I did not feel safe being so close to the air bag so I began sitting in the back. Since then, my ds has loved car rides, he doesn't feel alone. We are switching my ds to the next stage of car seat and intend to use the First Years True Fit because it allows the child to rear face to 35lbs and the top part can be removed to allow a better fit in the car.

Sarah - posted on 03/18/2010

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I am from the UK and we have a car seat that you can use rear facing until 35lbs, which is about 3 or 4 years old. Probably closer to 4 for my DD since she's only about 18.5lbs now at almost 15 months.

Paul Stride in York stock extended rear facing car seats. They have a website: www.paulstride.co.uk.

Rear facing is definitely so much safer. DD is perfectly happy facing backwards and i have a mirror set up so that i can see her face. Because the seat i have is a proper extended rear facing one her legs don't scrunch up at all, they're fine. It's a BeSafe Izi Combi seat.

Sarah - posted on 03/18/2010

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Also, arguments that their legs could break or that they are uncomfortable are not at all persuasive. A broken leg is a heck of a lot easier to fix than a decapitation, which is also a worse result that a little discomfort. Just saying.

Sarah - posted on 03/18/2010

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For those of you who turned FF before one year, please, please, watch these videos. It is TOTALLY unsafe to have a child under one year FF and in fact is much safer to have the child RF until at least 2 years and preferably 3 or even 4. Once you see the crash tests, you will understand:

Deb - posted on 03/18/2010

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CT is strict it is at least one year old AND minimum 20 lbs. My daugher is 13 months old, with long legs (she sits cross legged in the sit when locked in), she is strong, walks, and she does not like her car seat. But she only weighs 17 lbs, so rear facing she stays, I give her a soft toy to distract her. My mom gave me the best general advice about child raising: Better safe than sorry, and do what you can live with!

Camille - posted on 03/18/2010

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When my daughter's legs got too long and were touching the seat, we switched her over. The car seat says it's forward facing 20 pounds and up and she's 22 pounds. I don't know what the age is supposed to be but I say go for the size. (My daughter's 14 months old, though.) The pediatrician said it was fine. Maybe they make the car seats differently in Europe. o_o

Alicia - posted on 03/18/2010

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My son is 14 1/2 months old and I believe that we did switch at about a year. He has always been really long and his legs were getting crushed and you could see the discomfort. Plus, I was told an accident could crush his legs, so it was another incentive. Do what you think is best for your child, but know there are risks no matter what way they face.

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