It’s a fact that children who are rear-facing have a greater chance of surviving a car crash.
Forward-facing children 12 to 23 months were over 5 times as likely to be injured compared to rear-facing children of same age. - NHTSA
Car crashes are the number one killer of children 1 to 12 years old in the United States. The best way to protect them in the car is to put them in the right seat, at the right time, and use it the right way. - NHTSA
It’s a fact that rear-facing car seats spread frontal crash forces over the whole area of a child's back, head, and neck; they also prevent the head from snapping relative to the body in a frontal crash.
“Birth through Age 2 – Rear-facing child safety seat. For the best possible protection, infants and children should be kept in a rear-facing child safety seat in the back seat buckled with the seat’s harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. The weight and height limits on rear-facing child safety seats can accommodate most children through age 2, check the seat’s owner’s manual for details.” – CDC
“In the United States during 2009, 1,314 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and approximately 179,000 were injured.” – CDC
This video also had a huge impact on me.
So those are the facts. Plain and simple. Its proven that your child should face the rear until they are at least two. But here I am with a child who is two and a half and is not going to be turned around anytime soon. He is in the 95% for his height, but he only eats select meals. So why is he still gazing out the back window? He weighs a mere 23 lbs. When I watch the video above I think about how much bigger that kid was than my Dexter is. If it can happen to him, it can happen to my kids.
A lot of parents like to think “That won’t happen to us.” I on the other hand always think, “that will happen to me, and I need to be cautious.” I know that sounds crazy, but it happens to people every day. Why would it not happen to me? Why am I above the odds? I am not, and neither are my kids. So once you realize that your kids can be taken away from you any minute, you do everything in your power to protect them. I don’t want to be one of the parents that cries themselves to sleep every night wondering if I had just been safer would my child still be here. Now I am not saying because my child is rear-facing, we are invincible; I am just saying that I am doing everything in my power to protect my boys.
A lot of people say “well my car seat says at 20lbs and 1 year, I can switch my child.” I really hope car seats start changing this! It drives me crazy. That is the minimum. If you went into a restaurant and they had the lowest possible score to stay open, would you eat there? If you read before you got onto a roller coaster that it had the minimum safety requirements would you ride it? For almost everything in life the minimum is not good enough for us. So why is is good enough for our kids? Why is it acceptable when it comes to something that is so important? Something that protects the most valuable thing in our lives, our kids. The minimum is not good enough for my kids, and I don’t think it is good enough for yours either. So prove to your kids from a young age that they mean more to you than the minimum. Keep them rear-facing till they can’t be anymore, till they have reached the maximum height or weight.
Another thing people always say to me is “well he looks so uncomfortable with his legs squished and he can’t see anything! My kid would hate that.” Let me share a secret with you that my mom taught me, parenting is not about what is easiest, or what your kids like the most. It is about what is best for them. My son who is two and a half has never once told me he would rather be forward-facing, he climbs up in his seat with a smile on his face and lets me strap him in. We don’t fight he does what he knows, he does not know there is anything else out there, or that he could be facing the other way. He actually likes it. He likes looking out the big back window, he likes being able to see everything rather than having to look between two seats to see a limited view. And he is so comfortable because I took my time in picking out a seat for him. I sat him in several seats before we chose ours. I made sure it was right for him and he loves it. Plus have you ever sat in a chair that was to tall for you? Had your legs dangle without a foot rest to put them on? It is so uncomfortable. I would rather sit cross legged any day. Kids are bendable and I have never met one that hated to sit cross legged.
I could sit here and share facts with you all day. I could tell you until I was blue in the face that it is proven safer for kids to be rear-facing. Sometimes it really bothers me to see babies sitting forward-facing, especially when they are not even 1. I hate it; I want to take all the babies and make them safe. I wish that sharing this information would change parents’ hearts, and they would realize that this can happen to them. I wish they could visualize what it would be like to sit next to their baby on a stretcher with a neck injury, and to think about how it would feel to have to watch their kid struggle with the small things when it didn’t have to be like that. Keeping their kids rear facing just one more year can change so much. I and so many others can try as hard as we want, but ultimately it is up to the parents to make that life saving decision for their child. I hope this helps at least one parent.
Kids are safer rear-facing period. Please at least read the AAP’s guidelines for car-seat safety.
I *think* this picture belongs to Britax