The Day A Friend Corrected Me

 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.  –

  
 I am as human as the next person. Moms and dads make mistakes everyday, and I was making one that could have cost my son his life. 

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. 

Never. 

Not. One.

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

 #rearfacingforwardthinking 

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

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221 thoughts on “The Day A Friend Corrected Me

  1. I had my daughter rear facing until she was 3,5. at that point her feet started falling asleep because they didn’t have enough room any longer and we decided to turn her.
    when she was 3 we went home for vacation (austria) and had to lend out a seat there, there are no latch systems, the seat belts do not automatically retreat when you pull them all the way out and the car seats have no breast buckle. i consider germany and austria very safe when it comes to car laws, much safer then here and yet there where so many things in the car seat safety that seemed lacking.
    my point is that we should be very happy about the knowledge and the options we have! if your child is happy facing backwards than keep him as long as you can:-)
    great article and I am so happy you had a friend who spoke up to you! its hard sometimes since we don’t want to step on each others toes but safety comes first!

    1. They don’t have a chest clip because the chest clip is dangerous. Please look it up. It’s banned in Europe for a reason. The whole seats are done differently so they can latch as well as the US ones. However, it is impossible to find rear facing seats for older kids in Germany which is unfortunate.

      1. This is a myth. The reason they don’t have chest clips in Europe is because EU standards require that a child can be removed from a seat with one motion. That is also the reason why their crotch buckles are what we refer to as puzzle buckles over here – they overlap with each other and have to be pushed in to the buckle as one piece.

        There are all sorts of rumors online about chest clips, but the real reason European seats don’t have them is because of the standard that requires kids be able to be removed with one motion.

      2. That last part isn’t true either 🙂 I’ve been working for a RF specialist the last five years and rearfacing has gained huge momentum. We have at least half a dozen seats on the market which rearface until 25 kg and countless others up until 18 kg that attach with the ISOfix hooks in the car.

      3. Chest clips are not dangerous. They are banned in Europe because European laws state that you need to be able to release the harness in one step. A chest clip adds a second step to the process.

  2. I really don’t understand this sentence: “Here’s the thing: if this post convicts you, maybe you’re feeling convicted because you reasoned the same way.” Do you mean to say, “Here’s the thing: if this post convinces you, maybe you’re feeling convinced because you reasoned the same way.”? Because a blog post can’t exactly convict someone of a crime…

    1. She may be religious. I know in our religion we use the word conviction and convicted for things we feel we are doing wrong that others may do and not feel wrong about. Like Sis. Smith doesn’t feel convicted of watching scary movies. But Sis. Davis does she feels they are evil but the first one doesn’t.

      1. Exactly! I understood precisely what she meant. Although, one doesn’t have to be religious (I’m a Christian, myself) to experience conviction. Anybody that knows right from wrong, understand conviction. Am I right?

    2. You clearly understood the sentence. Please don’t try to put down others in this manner for whatever self-serving reason(s) you may have. If you were genuinely concerned about her word usage, then you would have done two things: phrased it in a nicer way or contacted her personally.

    3. She’s using the term “convict” to mean “to convince one of error.” It’s properly used in her original sentence. The more you know… 🙂

    1. This post is changing people’s mind about a serious issue and possibly saving lots of precious lives and all of you are more concerned about whether or not she used the correct word. Did you understand what she was trying to say? Did her point get across? Yes. (To most. To the rest of you, you’re more worried about the difference between convict and convince.) Thank you for sharing this. My son is only four months old, but I’m noticing he’s getting a rather large head like his father. I will DEFINITELT be keeping this in mind and doing lots of research to ensure that I’m putting him in the car seat right and adjusting his straps safely.

      1. My son is also only 4 months old. First time Mommy. And to top it off, I’m a truck driver So I’m rarely ever home. My husband takes care of everything. I will be sure to remind him of this when it gets closer to that Tim as well as point it out to him now to think about until then. This was an amazingly well written piece and I am so thankful to have found it.

    1. 2 a :the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth
      b :the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth

      Merriam-Webster dictionary. Not sure what my word choice has to do with the articles theme

      1. i think what the person was (rudely) trying to say is that you probably mean “convinces you” (convict would refer to making a decision about guilt or innocence of a person related to a crime).

      2. “I mean convict: 2. to convince of error or sinfulness.

        I felt convincted, and I hope this post convincts.”

        I see what you’re saying, those meanings are technically both correct, but “convincted” and “convincts” are not words. In those cases, it’s either “I felt convinced” “I hope this post convinces you” or “I was convicted” “I hope this post convicts”. The second usage of “convict” is a usage that has fallen out of usage since the 1800s. The Oxford dictionary actually lists it as obsolete and doesn’t have that meaning there anymore.

        On a side note, sorry for being such a nerdy loser and posting about word meanings on your blog post!

  3. Thank you for confirming my thoughts! I have been wanting to forward face my now 20 month old for so long because of convenience. Though petite for her age she meets the standards set my lawmakers. However, I have been putting it off because somewhere in the back of my brain I keep telling myself, “but you know it’s safer for her to stay rear facing”. Thank you for making that voice much louder today!! I will be keeping her rear facing for another few months until baby #2 arrives, at which point we will have to put her face forward due to 2 care seats in the back and how they will fit in our vehicle. Great article!

  4. When I was a toddler, my mother and I were in a horrible car accident, because a much larger vehicle lost control and slammed into us. The medics had to cut the crumpled car frame from around my safety seat to get to me. I was basically inside a cocoon between my safety seat and the back of the car’s seat and got away with just some bruises on my shoulders from the straps and a single small scratch. If I’d been front facing, I’d have been crushed. The safety seat company actually photographed the one that saved my life and used it in their advertisements for a while. Understandably, my family has been very serious about spreading baby car seat safety info ever since. Thanks for this article, it’s a great perspective.

  5. My kiddos are all way past that stage (youngest are 5 & oldest is 9), so my struggles are with when to switch from 5 point harness to booster. I saved up and bought one of the best convertible seats I could find. It goes from 5 point harness to high back booster to backless booster. My kids wanted to move long before I felt we should, so we had a talk about it. I explained that just because their friends are out of car seats and use a backless booster or no booster, doesn’t mean its the best option. I was very open with them about how we should always be as safe as possible & pointed out that race car drivers use a harness (we are a racing town & their uncle races) to help keep them safe. Now, they are all fine with staying where they are.

    1. Yes! My kids were still in 5-pt harnesses until kindergarten because I didn’t trust them to stay buckled or wear the regular seat belt properly (we had tried). I saw their classmates being picked up from school in the front seats of cars with no boosters and I’m sure they saw it as unfair, but I didn’t care – safety is more important. My son is almost 11 and still in a booster because he’s not quite at the height recommendation for the regular seat and I’m not taking any chances.

      1. My 10 year old is still in a booster and is so tiny that I had her in a 5 point booster until last year.

  6. I thought this was a great blog. Very informative. I am a first time mom and my daughter is 9 months old so I am doing some research now before I have to make those decisions later. I am so glad I came across this, truly. So far, the best thing I have read. Thank you so much. take care and god bless!
    ~Timber and Mia

  7. Wow… The Grammar Police are out in force tonight! But they seem to be giving jaywalking tickets to people in a crosswalk.

    I would feel convicted by this if my kids weren’t too old for carseats. 🙂 If I ever have another little one, I’ll rear face longer than I did with my other two.

  8. My sons doctor told me when he turned one i can face him foward and before he turned one he was over twenty pounds

    1. Ashley- Your doctor may be wonderful, but not correct. Your child should remain rear facing till the seats recommended weight or height is maxed or your child reaches 2yrs old.

    2. You CAN do anything you want to. However turning your child around just because they are 1 or 20lbs, is not the safest choice. There are great links in this blog, you should click on them and read some of the research she has provided. Or do your own research. Making your child’s safety your priority is far more important than making convenience your priority.

    3. Doctors unfortunately are not giving good advice when it comes to car seat safety. I turned my now 12 year old around at 1 because my doctor said I could, I didn’t know any better and fully trusted my doctor. And while that may be the law in some states, it’s definitely not the safest. Also want to just point out the standard is 1 year AND at least 20lbs. If they are 20lbs but not yet a year they most definitely should not be switched. But extend rear facing is definitely the safest for a child.

      I really wish more pediatricians would take a firmer stance on this issue. For the mothers like me who just take the Dr at his word without giving it another thought that could be the difference between life and death for their child. Thank you for sharing this!!

  9. 1. Thank you for this informative article, great food for this gramma’s thoughts! Our lawmakers need to share this information to help people understand why back facing is the only safe option.
    2. I particularly like your choice of the word convicts. It lends more strength to the statement.

  10. What really needs to happen is for automakers to fix the designs of the back seats of cars. Other than the rear-facing issue, and how difficult it is to properly fit most seats into most cars, there is the problem of the rear seat belt. The point of booster seats is to position the child properly so that the belt does not lie on right on the neck, but rather across the chest… As a 5’5″ adult, in many cars, _I_ would require a booster seat for this to occur!
    Of course this will never happen, with the half-billion $ per year carseat industry having so much to lose…

    1. Most new car models do come with a seat belt clip in the rear seating. It is designed to pull the seatbelt away from the neck of a small statured person.

  11. Thank you for helping to spread the word. We do better when we know better. Daughter is 3+ and ERF and hope to be until 4. Thanks again!

  12. I love this. I feel the way it is written is honestly heartfelt and coming from a good place and not judgmental. I’m proud to say my daughter is still rear facing at 18 months old, and will until a bare minimum of 2 years old, but I plan to max out the limits of her seat. 🙂

  13. My oldest 3 are 19, 17, and 14. At that time it was standard practice to turn then around at age 1. My youngest 3 are just turned 5, just turned 4, and just turned 3. My 5 yo is forward facing, but uses the 5-point harness. My 3 yo and 4 yo are still rear facing. My 3 yo is almost 30 lbs and my 4 yo, who is a preemie, only weighs about 27 lbs. They’ll be rear-facing as long as possible.

  14. I’m a certified car seat tech for 9 years. I do not tell people what to do, I recommend what is the best practice in my field. I have worked with many ages of children from special needs to non-special needs. Every situation is different as well as the needs of the child. Most rear facing seats can be maxed out to the recommended weight before turning your child forward facing. The shoulder straps are to be at or below the shoulder, and the harness chest clip is at nipple level. Once forward facing the shoulder straps are now at or above the shoulder. The forward facing seat can be maxed out in height or weight before moving to the next step which would be a booster seat.

  15. I love that you posted this. I am a pediatric nurse and I regularly try to share this information with parents. I often get eye-rolls in response. It’s a matter of saving lives and not a matter of pride. You are blessed to have a friend who loves you and your son so much that she spoke up.

  16. My son turned 2 in April. He is 36″ tall and weighs 27 lbs, high on the percentile for height, but low for weight. I have done tons of research before he turned 1 and, while he met the bare minimum to forward face when he turned a year, I chose to keep him rear facing. He is 2 now, still rear facing, and plan to keep him rear facing until he meets the maximum rear facing limit of the car seat. My family thinks I’m crazy, but I know better!

      1. I shared this article to my facebook page, and it started a huge argument from my family. I mean, how could you argue with facts? I don’t think any of them actually read the article, or any of the articles that I’ve posted about it. They always just brush off everything I post about extended rear facing. It’s like they don’t understand that if something happens, they may lose the most precious thing in their lives, and not get a second change. They just have too much confidence that nothing is going to happen. I may go a little overboard with the posts sometimes, but there’s just so many pages with information about it and I want to share and hopefully change some minds. I do have a few friends who do agree with me, and kept their children rear facing longer than a year.

      2. My heart is with you. Keep your head up. We share because we love. If people can’t see that, it’s their loss. I can’t live my life knowing I could have prevented. I’ll do my part, it’s on them to do theirs. All we can do is our best. We can’t change how people feel, and unfortunately we can’t change how they react. Most importantly, we are not responsible for “making” them feel attacked or judged. People are in charge of their own feelings.

        The best advice I received from a car seat tech was to get in touch with state legislators. By changing laws, were informing a wide audience indirectly. Click it or ticket will soon include extended rear facing. ❤️

  17. Totally agree. And I have written a letter to my state legislators about changing the law from a minimum of 12 months and 20 lbs to a minimum of 2 years and 30 lbs, which is what is recommended by the experts. I haven’t heard anything yet, but hopefully one day soon the law will change. 🙂

  18. I commend you for writing this blog. It’s a difficult topic because no one wants to be told that they are doing something wrong and even more that they are placing their child in danger. I was on the other side of the coin. My sister shared a heartbreaking story of a little boy that was killed while in a booster seat. We starting doing research from there to learn more about car seat safety. Her daughter is 8 and just moved into a booster. And that was only because she grew out of the requirements of the car seat. By this time her friends were seating in a seat like an adult, but my sister told her of the stories of kids getting hurt and convinced her that just because her friends were doing it, it wasn’t always correct. I have lost a child to something sudden and unexpected. I would never want to lose one to something that I could have prevented with a little research and know-how. Car seats are for protection, not what is convenient.

    1. Thank you for encouragement. I’m so sorry for your loss, mama. I can’t imagine and I wish I had the words for healing and understanding. Just now that my heart is broken knowing you have lost a little one and so thankful that it is open to advice and redirection in this area of safety ❤️

  19. Thank you so much for not only the needed info but also the loving concern with which you earnestly tried to deliver it. There is SUCH a difference between negatively given criticism and positively given correction ! But so many have been demeaned so often within their own world that they can’t, at first glance, see when it’s loving CONCERN rather than an attack upon their competence and/or strength of heart, etc..

  20. First time mommy, my son is 5 mouths and is 27″ and 17lbs. I know tall. And my hubby wants to put him in a front face seat as soon as we can. I’m scared to, I will admit I thought I was being over protective but doing the research, I’m being smart and keeping my little man safe. Thank you for posting this. I’m going to fight my hardest to keep him RF. My baby’s life is more important then anything.

    1. I’m so glad it helped you Toni! It’s so difficult when we disagree with our loved ones over this, but we gotta be able to sleep at night! My husband is pretty indifferent to the whole matter, but he says “only because you know enough for the both of us.” So car seats are all me. Every uninstall and reinstall he counts on me because he knows I’ll do it right and he doesn’t have to think about it! I hope your husband changes his mind, or at least can write off car seats to being your responsibility as he silently supports!

  21. I recently had to tell a friend that she wasn’t buckling her newborn in correctly. She’s dingy, so she didn’t seem too worried about it. I’m not one of those crazy hovercraft moms, I just want my babies safe! I applaud your courage to share your story of not only your success, but your mistake. I have never commented on blogs, so well done!

  22. Every time I think to change a child forward facing, I always ask myself, if I was in a coluission tomorrow how would I feel about my decision? Dd1 was 5y9m, dd2 was 5y 2m, ds1, ds2, and dd3 are nearly 4 and still quite comfy rear facing! I am a car seat technition. Can’t figure out how to post a picture.

  23. Just with how easy it can be to forget a child in the car, maybe come up with some reminder like an alarm on the phone or something. If the little guy falls asleep and isn’t making noise in a rear facing seat, it can be easy to think you already took them to school or daycare or whatever. It is in no way a judgement; even the most loving parents have done this through no malice or poor planning on their part.

  24. I am in Australia and most seats I am aware of are only rear facing to 6 months ish.
    Thanks for your article- Ill definitely be looking into this.

  25. I had a friend call me out for letting my son ride home in his booster with his backpack on (he’s 8 years old). It’s barely a mile and the fastest speed I would go was 30 mph, but you now what- she was absolutely right! His seatbelt didn’t sit properly. It was a risk. I took a second check and make sure to not do that again. I showed my big kids how to put their seatbelts on correctly and tighten them. Aren’t we so blessed to have friends willing to speak up and risk our anger to keep our kids safe? Thank you for sharing. ❤

  26. I’m sorry, how did this spin off into a grammar lesson? If you can’t understand what the author is saying, grab a dictionary and keep their writing in context. Don’t waste their time by taking a very important point and nullifying it with your need to be the additional person in life that corrects her. Just because it’s the title of the piece, does not mean she was inviting more (and this case, unnecessary) correction.

    1. Exactly! So many corrections that were incorrect! Perhaps those people should read more in order to encounter various usage of words.

  27. I feel “convicted “, you “convinced” me! Lol!! Seriously though, good job! Some parents feel it’s just easier and give in to the child, I personally think they are worth the fight/struggle of properly securing the incase of an accident. After all, we don’t plan and accident! Best wishes!
    #FreedomOfSpeech

  28. I don’t care about grammer and the use of this or that word! So thanks for the blog I think rear facing is an excellent idea and have no problem with doing that with my recently turned 1 year old. Also now a days (I know the blog was written in 2015) they talk about avoiding using winter clothes in a car seat as the straps are not able to be the correctly tightened. As for the chest straps we don’t have them in Europe end of. It doesn’t not mean that European is somehow purposely endangering the lives of toddlers and American’s care more (not that I am claiming anyone said that), I am just a little bored of hearing why don’t you have a chest clip!!!! The important issue is car seat safety and it seems rear facing is recommended in most parts of the world.

  29. Any advice on how to convince grandparents who think that seat is too tight rear facing? I have sent them car seat installation articles, chiropractic articles about the development of a childs spine, even went to a local car seat installer who provided and confirmed my research.

    1. No advice, but encouragement. Sometimes the answer is simply that you’re doing your best to keep your children safe. While you hear and understand their concerns, you will continue to do what is best for your child. It’s easier said than done, and disagreeing with family is right up there with major dental work for me. Not on my top list of fun things to do! But you’re doing awesome, mama. Keep fighting to keep those babies safe. And when you’re weary from the battle, I’m an ear you can always count on. 💗

  30. I agree with all of this but sadly our car seat maxes out at 22# and my just over 1 year old is already 22.5#. we have to buy a new car seat for our 3 year old (because the one given to us has expired) and the 1 year old so we will be having to get the 3 in 1 car seats for both of them because we can not afford to spend a lot. Our oldest (4yo) is in the Graco nautilus 3 in 1 and that is what we are getting for the other two as well. I am grateful for this article to help those who can afford the very nice car seats that grow with your child.

    1. Just an FYI in case this helps you or someone else, my 2.5 year old is still rear facing with room to grow in the Cosco Scenera NEXT. It rearfaces to 40″ and 40 lbs and only costs $37 at Walmart. So you don’t always have to spend a fortune for safety.

  31. HI!
    There are car seats which allow forward facing and are still the safest on the market, according to the tests, like Kiddy phoenixfix pro 2.

    1. The Kiddy phoenixfix pro 2 and 3 are excellent seats which have won many tests. However, they still do slightly worse in pure frontal collisions than rear facing seats, and as those collisions tend to be the most lethal a lot of experts think you should give those scores more weight.

  32. In Norway (and our neighbour Sweden, as far as I know), the recommendation is to keep the child rear facing until 4.
    The absolute minimum is 9 kg (about lb 20) before turning them forward, but most seats sold in Norway are rearfacing, and most parents keep their kids that way as long as possible.
    Jr. was a big lad, we had to get a new seat just before he turned 4 because he outgrew the old one. Otherwise I would have kept him rear facing even longer.

  33. It’s wonderful to see posts promoting ERF. 🙂
    I work with this every day as an extended rear facing car seat specialist advisor, and I can with a hand on my heart say that parents don’t forward face too early, install their seats incorrectly, or position the children wrong in their seats – because they intend to do harm. It’s because they have not received enough information, either when buying the car seat or because most of their friends and social circle (Be it in RF or social media) view it as OK – therefore what harm could it be?
    Most will – after receiving the correct advice, change their ways. IF they don’t – at least they have made an informed decision, and sadly that is all I can do – give the correct advice.

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