I’ve been thinking about this blog post for months, the problem is, every time I start to write it, another friend chooses to forward face their child and I don’t want them to think I wrote it because of them. Here’s the thing: if this post convicts you, maybe you’re feeling convicted because you reasoned the same way. To some extent, forward facing your toddler is a preference. Statistics, and in some states, laws, recommend AT LEAST 2 years, but most states, despite American academy of pediatrics research, recommend (not require) AT LEAST 1 year and 20 pounds (minimum. That’s minimum.)
Look up your state’s laws here. If you’re unhappy with your state’s decision, contact your local state representative. It’s also beneficial to contact car seat manufacturers, they are very supportive in lobbying for these changes. — thank you Krystina.
I’m writing this post not to make other parents feel guilty. If you feel guilty, deal with it on a personal level. This post is how I decided to extend rear face, not why you should. If you’re reading this and my reasons are your reasons, then do what you want with the information. –
Above is Salem. Salem has always been in the 90th percentile for height/weight and between 75-85th percentile for his head size. As a first time mom, I was so proud of how big he was and by his first birthday, I just couldn’t wait to turn his car seat around.
So I did. I shared the photo. A friend of mine commented, “just because he’s big enough doesn’t mean he should be!” I shrugged it off. This was a MILESTONE. Don’t ruin it, lady.
Then I posted sleeping Salem. And she wrote me a book.
“Listen, Candace. Hear me, please. Salem’s car seat straps are incorrect. The manual states he needs to have his chest buckle at his arm pits. In an accident, that buckle would dig into his soft stomach and cause serious damage to his organs, his upper body would have no support, flinging his so sweet and adorably large head so hard, that he is guaranteed to have serious spinal, nerve, and brain damage.
That is 100% the only wrong thing in the photo. (EDIT: a reader has brought to my attention “His straps were too loose and they were coming from behind his shoulders when we know they need to be at or above for forward facing. Now I know! It’ll be awhile before we are FF though 😏)
However, I need to address extended rear facing with you. Most states recommend a MINIMUM of 1 year and 20 pounds. While Salem meets that, it’s really best if he rides out the maximum rear facing seat requirements. I own that seat, they are 5-40 pounds and 40 inches rear facing. Meaning, he should be rear facing til about 2, which is what AAP recommends. Please consider turning him around?”
Crap. I’m so humiliated. She’s right.
But rear facing is awful. I can’t see him. He whines. It looks uncomfortable. Plus, it’s SO OBNOXIOUS AND INCONVENIENT!
Wait, what self? If you got in a wreck and you lost him, would any of those reasons stand a chance.
So I researched. I read every article on car seat safety. I joined Car Seats for the Littles on facebook. I asked my pediatrician.
She was 100% RIGHT.
Toddlers vertebrae aren’t connected by ossified bone; they’re connected by cartilage. Meaning it’s easier for serious damage to occur, ESPECIALLY in a car accident. HERE
Rear facing is 5 TIMES SAFER, 500%, for your child. HERE
And in case you came up with plenty of other myths to try one last time to keep forward facing, JUST LIKE I DID, Here.
A letter to myself:
My child’s life is priceless. (As is your child’s.) I get one shot. I can’t put a price tag on it. I can’t put convenience ahead of it. I’m happy to share the information with you all and I will not be made to feel guilty. (Because I was you.)
I don’t care if you know you’re a super incredible safe driver. The car next to you isn’t. Don’t trust them to put your car seat to the test.
If your child has outgrown their rear facing limits and you can’t afford to purchase one with higher limits, you shouldn’t feel guilty. NEVER FEEL GUILTY. You are educated and you are doing the best you can.
- This post is for the me’s out there.
- Front facing isn’t a milestone.
- Front facing isn’t as safe. (With the exception of cars that don’t allow for proper rear facing installation).
- Pride. Isn’t. Worth. It.
Please consider Extended Rear Facing. Please.
If my post changed your mind (like many emails I’ve received!) or you already ERF your littles, post a picture on Instagram and
It takes a lot to swallow our pride as moms. It’s ok to change our minds. Let’s support each other.
I have compiled more research, information from comments, and common car seat mistakes Here
Cameron’s story can be read Here