Rear facing car seats until two year old!?

Kaila - posted on 04/27/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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Rear facing car seats until two year old!? My son's doctor just told me about this. What's everyone's opinion about this?

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Emily - posted on 04/27/2009

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Lots of parents worry about their kids' legs and with good reason- we care about them! However, the crash dangers are much riskier in ff car seats. The following info is from Debbi Baer who is a well respected car seat technician and advocate for childrens' safety.

What about the baby's legs? Many parents and even some pediatricians mistakenly think that a child should turn forward-facing when her legs touch the back of the vehicle seat, thinking that this leg position is uncomfortable and/or unsafe. This is untrue. In our experience installing 15,000 car seats, we've seen hundreds of children over the age of 1 riding rear-facing. Many of them are very verbal 2 and 3 year-olds and none have complained of their legs hurting. While your 2-year-old may look uncomfortable riding rear-facing – as they sit with their legs crossed or in the “frog-legged” position – rest assured that they are both safe and comfortable. Have you ever watched a 5 year old sleep in the car with their chin on their chest? If you tried sleeping like this your neck would hurt for a week – but the 5-year-old never complains of a stiff neck. Kids are much more flexible than adults and can sit and sleep comfortably in positions that would make an adult very uncomfortable.

Simply put, there are ZERO documented cases of rear-facing children breaking their legs, hips, feet, etc., due to their feet touching the back of the vehicle seat. However, since it looks plausible, this rumor persists.

Unfortunately there are too many documented cases of head and spinal cord injuries due to children riding forward-facing too soon. Modern medicine can easily fix a broken leg, but not a broken neck.

Lindsay - posted on 04/27/2009

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Hi! I struggle with this too. I have done a lot of research on this. I guess the concern is the tendons in the neck and development. As much as I want to turn my twins around I am nervous to. They say to keep them rear facing as long as possible. Some people have even kept them rear facing until 3! It's so hard because they get so bored! I am going to try and wait longer (mine are 15 months).

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Megan - posted on 12/15/2012

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keep your little one rear facing until age 2...It is safest. It may seem odd at first, but your child will not know any different. Safety is the most important consideration. Invest in a quality convertible carseat. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00834D...
This one supports rearfacing til about 45lbs and then front facing til 80lbs. So it is a good investment. And be sue to choose one that is good in side impact as well.

Crystal - posted on 04/27/2009

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Thanks Jennifer. I guess I need to do a little bit more carseat research. I actually have the Britax but have it facing forward. I will also talk to my pediatrician when we go tomorrow for check up. thanks again!

[deleted account]

Quoting Crystal:

My son was a big boy. At 11 months he was 28 pounds and 28 1/2 long. I had the keyfit 30 pound carseat that allows to rearface to 30 pounds. After he reached the 28 pounds, he was hanging out all sides of the seat. I put him in a front facing seat at 11 months. He didn't even look safe just because he wasn't really fitting in it anymore. I disagree on keeping larger children in rear face seats. They are not designed for big children. They are for babies and not toddlers. That is why there are toddler seats.


Crystal, the Keyfit 30 is an infant seat, so it definitely isn't intended to be used to age 2. But the AAP recommendation now is to put the into a convertible carseat (Britax, for example) and install it rear-facing as long as possible. The convertible seats are much larger, and can be used for babies and toddlers both. I know it varies by state, but where I live its actually illegal to have a child under 1 year forward facing.

Crystal - posted on 04/27/2009

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My son was a big boy. At 11 months he was 28 pounds and 28 1/2 long. I had the keyfit 30 pound carseat that allows to rearface to 30 pounds. After he reached the 28 pounds, he was hanging out all sides of the seat. I put him in a front facing seat at 11 months. He didn't even look safe just because he wasn't really fitting in it anymore. I disagree on keeping larger children in rear face seats. They are not designed for big children. They are for babies and not toddlers. That is why there are toddler seats.

[deleted account]

Wow - its certainly interesting to see how the standard for RF/FF are different from country to country. I think the average here in the US is to turn forward at 1 year, though there is a recent push to encourage everyone to wait until age 2. I've read that in Scandinavia, they keep kids rear facing to 4 years or 25kgs!

Hayley - posted on 04/27/2009

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thats all very odd to me as in nz we have a weight of 8-9kgs before we turn them around which is probably on up to 6 months at most

Melissa - posted on 04/27/2009

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If you look around there is a great clip on here regarding this Emily C is completely right I will ask the lady who posted it if I can share her name with ya. I do know it is in after pregnancy babies and infant probably atleast pages back but it is worth looking for

[deleted account]

We took a child seat safety course when I was pregnant and the instructor said it's best to leave your child rear facing as long as possible. You also have to consider height and weight and how much head/neck control your baby has. We left our son rear facing until he was about 13 months and only turned him around because he had A) outgrown the weight restriction for the rear facing seat and B) he had good head and neck control and had already been walking since 10 months. We ended up buying a convertible seat that goes from forward facing for a toddler to booster for an older child.

[deleted account]

Rear facing is the safest way for a child to ride in the car, so they should be that way as long as possible. The American Academy of Pediatricians just revised their recommendations to RF for 2 years - but the research that they base this recommendation on was done in like 2003, so its not really new info.

You don't need to get a new car seat to do rear facing - most convertible seats can be installed rear or front. Just leave them rear facing until the child reached the weight limit. My son's seat can be rear facing up to 35 lbs - I just hope he doesn't hit that before age 2!

If you're wondering why it is safer, you can check this family's site - their 18 month old suffered internal decapitation while in a low speed collision while forward facing.
http://www.joelsjourney.org/

Sara - posted on 04/27/2009

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my doctor goes by a combination of age and weight... he's been frontfacing since about 1 year and 25 lbs...

[deleted account]

There's height, weight, and age to consider. With my kids, I don't change them to front facing until they have surpassed all three.

It is safer to have them rear facing, so the longer you can keep them that way, the better.

Tesha - posted on 04/27/2009

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Quoting Lindsay:

When my kids were babies we were told to keep them rear facing until they were 20 lbs or one year old. I switched my daughter at about 11 months and my son around 10 months. We never had any problems come out of it! I can't imagine them being faced backwards until they were 2. They would be so cramped up as they couldn't stretch their legs! Seems uncomfortable to me because both of my kids were already having to bend their legs at the ages that I switched them forward!



I completely agree with Lindsay.  I think it's best to go by the manufacturers suggestions for the particular carseat, but also by the weight guidelines.  You have to take into account their legs too!  My girls have long legs so it was tough.  I have an 8 month old who gets bored rear facing as well.  She has a bit longer to go, but at least she can look at her older sister (4yrs) and play with her if she does get bored.  My first didn't have that luxury.  She had LOTS of toys though!

Lindsay - posted on 04/27/2009

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When my kids were babies we were told to keep them rear facing until they were 20 lbs or one year old. I switched my daughter at about 11 months and my son around 10 months. We never had any problems come out of it! I can't imagine them being faced backwards until they were 2. They would be so cramped up as they couldn't stretch their legs! Seems uncomfortable to me because both of my kids were already having to bend their legs at the ages that I switched them forward!

Bobbi - posted on 04/27/2009

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the car seat itself should tell u. Maybe its different here in canada but most carseats are rearfacing until 22-30 pounds to one year which ever comes first. I would go by the manufacturers suggestion.

Cynthia - posted on 04/27/2009

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Well, if you go by height, I still need a booster seat, so I am not sure these new "regulations" are much more than "economic stimulus" plans for the carseat manufacturers.

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