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Car Seats Are Safer Facing the Rear

Which Way Does Your Child's Car Seat Face?

Parents ready to let their tot look toward the dashboard may think twice about the car seat installation. A new study out in the British Medical Journal suggests parents should keep their children in rear facing car seats until age four.

Most mothers and fathers follow the guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics — that wee ones stay in rear-facing seats until age one and surpass 20 pounds. Some folks choose to turn them around earlier for fear of crushing their lil one's limbs. According to Dr. Joseph O'Neil:

A child is 5.53 times safer during their second year of life in a rear-facing car seat versus a forward-facing one.

The video certainly has me questioning my daughter's car seat position, but I don't see any older children still sitting backward. Maybe that's because the child's knees would be next to his ears. How old are your kiddos and which way do their seats face?

MaggieLei MaggieLei 8 years
I turned my son when he was a year and 20 pounds, but I won't with the second. I agree that broken limbs are better than a broken neck and that they should absolutely be in the That said, my goddaughter shrieked in the car until her parents turned her around at 9 months. Very illegal and very dangerous. I absolutely disagreed with their decision. However, I can see that her screaming was likely to cause an accident. It was terrible- not something I would ask of any parent.
ladygrace ladygrace 8 years
Actually, AAP's current recommendation is to the limit of the seat, not just 1 and 20: "The AAP recommends keeping children rear-facing to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer." ( My 33 inch, 27 lb. 18 month old is still rear-facing, and is comfortable and happy. He crosses his legs in his seat, like toddlers like to sit anyway, and doesn't know any different. Besides, even if it was an issue, I'll take safety over comfort any day of the week. Sometimes we have to do what's best for our children, safety wise, regardless of whether they like it or not. We are the parent, it is our job. It's important to note that most seats that you buy after the infant seat are 'convertible' and can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing. Rear-facing is not limited to the infant bucket seats.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
"can you believe that car seats didn't even exist a few years ago?" Car seats have been pretty mainstream since the late 70s.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
yeah, the long legged babies can't face rear much longer than 18 months. can you believe that car seats didn't even exist a few years ago?
Moms Moms 8 years
My kids would never have been able to sit in rear facing car seats past one. My daughter barely made it until her first birthday and my son was a month or so shy when we turned him. They both had long limbs and were incredibly uncomfortable.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
Until 4? I don't think any carseats sold in the US have rear facing weight limits higher than 35 lbs, so unless you have a really small four-year-old, that's just not possible here. We turned our daughter around right before she turned two. And Babysugar, you misquoted the AAP's recommendation a bit. They are supposed to stay rear facing until they turn 1 AND weight at least 20 lbs.
MissSushi MissSushi 8 years
There is NO way i could have left my daughter rear facing.. she reached the height limit (and then some, i tried to wait) and simply had absolutely no room for her legs long before the age or weight limit. she has always been very long and skinny (2 and 3x the height of her peers) and after a few scream fests on 1 1/2 hour drives, i finally gave in. She has happily been facing forward in the middle seat since then. Its a nice thought to keep them in rear as long as possible, but you simply cant expect children to sit in a seat so scrunched they are pratically in the fetal position. It's not good for their limbs or organs to be compressed like that.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
That's a good point about the feet being up by their ears. My daughter was turned around after she reached the weight limit. Our car is small and it was very difficult to buckle her in rear-facing I almost had a concussion from knocking my head buckling her in once. I did keep her in the middle though up until her 3rd birthday, but had to switch her to the side cause it was too hard to buckle her in again with a growing belly.
schnappycat schnappycat 8 years
My son is 17 months old and still happily rear facing. I have no intention of turning him any time soon, and hope to keep him rear facing until the RF limits of his seat. The research is a no brainer in that it's SO much safer rear facing (really, even adults should ride RF if it were possible). Even if his legs are a bit bent or have to be crossed, it's much better to suffer a leg injury than a neck or spine injury. I'm not taking any chances.
backfat backfat 8 years
Well, she's under one for a couple more days so rear-facing, obviously. We will be doing extended rear-facing because you can't ignore basic physics when it comes to safety. My other children were turned early because I was ignorant back then. I just did what other mothers around me were doing and never questioned it or did any research of my own. Thankfully we were never any accidents.
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