Monday, June 11, 2012

What If You're Wrong?

I hear it regularly: "Rear-facing is a pain in the butt. Where is my child supposed to put his legs...up by his ears?! He hates the car seat and is so much happier forward facing, so that's what we'll do, thank you very much!" Add in an arm fold and utter a hearty "humph!" for good measure and you have your basic anti-ERF arguments.

Rear-facing in car seats is 500% safer than forward-facing. It's a cold, hard fact. It may not be convenient for you. It may not appear to be comfortable to you. It may seem over-protective to you, but 500% is a pretty big number...

So, here's my question: What if you're wrong?

First, let's look at this question: What if I'm wrong?

Well, if I'm wrong and extended rear-facing is not the bees knees that I think it is, I've mildly inconvenienced myself and maybe bugged my son a bit. Yup. That's pretty much the extent of the consequences there.

If you're wrong, though, and facing your child forward too early is not as minor a detail as you claim, you're looking at the potential for death, serious injury, and a forever-changed life.

The risks just don't outweigh the benefits when it comes to turning your babes around too soon.

Let me break it down a bit more for you visual learners:





Are you sure? Are you still sure you want to risk it? If you haven't already turned your babes forward, don't. Keep them rear-facing for as long as possible. If you've already turned them around, turn them back. Might it be an inconvenience? Possibly. Might it save their lives? Almost certainly.

29 comments:

  1. Is it supposed to be rear facing until 2 or 4?

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    1. Maggie, the longer you keep babe rf, the better. Every step up in the car seat is a step down in safety.

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    2. It depends on the car seat. There is usually a sticker that tells you the ht - wt at which you need to turn them forward.

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    3. You're right on about that. Check the height and weight maximums for your seat. Note that some will offer higher limits, so they're good to check out. My seat will go up to 45 pounds and 1 inch below the top of the seat before needing to be turned around. My son is now 20 months and he's only 25 pounds and nowhere near the top of the seat - and he's tall for his age. He'll be rear facing for a very long time. :)

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  2. till they outgrow the seat. my 6 year old is still rear facing

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    1. How do you know when they have outgrown the seat? When you can't buckle it anymore? Thanks for sharing, Zen Parenting...
      ~sheila

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    2. Check the height and weight maximums for your seat. Note that some will offer higher limits, so they're good to check out. My seat will go up to 45 pounds and 1 inch below the top of the seat before needing to be turned around. My son is now 20 months and he's only 25 pounds and nowhere near the top of the seat - and he's tall for his age. He'll be rear facing for a very long time. :)

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  3. Awesome! Thanks. I didn't know and I have heard so many different things lately. I appreciate the info and everything you do here!

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  4. I have a mini cooper and my son is only 9 months. His feet already touch the seat. Can you write another blog of how to position their legs to help extended rear facing?? Or links? Pics would be helpful!!! Thanks!!

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    1. many of them prop them up the back of the seat, sit criss cross, throw them over the sides of their seat or sit froggy style with them bent at the knee.
      http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/RFAlbum.aspx
      http://babyproducts.about.com/od/carseats/ig/Extended-Rear-Facing-Car-Seat/

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  5. I have a mini cooper and my son is only 9 months. His feet already touch the seat. Can you write another blog of how to position their legs to help extended rear facing?? Or links? Pics would be helpful!!! Thanks!!

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  6. I have a mini cooper and my son is only 9 months. His feet already touch the seat. Can you write another blog of how to position their legs to help extended rear facing?? Or links? Pics would be helpful!!! Thanks!!

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  7. I have a mini cooper and my son is only 9 months. His feet already touch the seat. Can you write another blog of how to position their legs to help extended rear facing?? Or links? Pics would be helpful!!! Thanks!!

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  8. I have a mini cooper and my son is only 9 months. His feet already touch the seat. Can you write another blog of how to position their legs to help extended rear facing?? Or links? Pics would be helpful!!! Thanks!!

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    1. We just crossed our kids' ankles. As their legs get longer, just keep them crossed around the crotch strap, like what we used to call "sitting Indian style" when I was in elementary school. When the kids don't know anything different, they just go with it.

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    2. your child will find a comfortable position. My daughter is 3 and is still rearfacing. She does not know any different!

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    3. Yep, what they said. ^^ :) "Criss-cross-applesauce" has proven most comfortable for my son, but I've seen kids with their legs in all different positions. They'll get themselves comfy for sure. :)
      And remember - broken legs, cast it; broken neck, casket. But for the record, there's never been a case of a broken leg due to rear-facing.

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    4. My mom has a Mini too and my daughter was able to rear-face comfortably in it when she was 22 months old (she could probably still do it, but she doesn't ride with my mom very often). I started out by crossing her legs and after a while she would alternate between that and putting her feet up on the back of the seat. When we finally did turn her forward facing she actually complained about it being less comfortable because she had nowhere to put her feet.

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  9. Taya, your child will find a comfortable position. Dangling legs while forward facing are far more uncomfortable than legs touching the seat. Kids naturally cross their legs when seated. Your child will find the position that works best for them :) I have never in my life experienced a child who was uncomfortable because of their legs while rear facing.

    (My child is 3 1/2 and still comfortably rear facing in our honda civic)

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  10. When I rear face my toddler my passenger seat feels too close to the dashboard, I wonder about my own safety as well.

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    1. The middle seat in the rear is safer by 40%, so if you can get the seat there you may be square for both issues.

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    2. This can be an issue in some cars. In one of our cars, having a Radian RF was actually not a proper installation, because even with the passenger seat all the way forward the Radian was still wedged against it -- there's supposed to be space, apparently. The Radian is an 'extra tall' seat so I can't imagine what car it would fit in properly while RF! And the middle seat has a hump so installation there was impossible.

      My best suggestion for extended RF when car space is an option is the TruFit. It's got an ingenious shell design that gives a toddler more headroom for RF but takes less horizontal space in the car.

      That being said, if you in the passenger seat are closer to the dashboard, you've still got some protection from the airbags. I expect that if you're in an accident serious enough to cause you serious injury when close to the dashboard, you might have been slightly less injured but still seriously injured when further away. Whereas the difference in injury for you toddler is much more pronounced. So I'd take a few more broken bones for myself if it meant my toddler wouldn't have internal decapitation!

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  11. The Radian is a seat that can safely touch the seats in front. Please read your manual! Most cannot.

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    1. the car seat may touch, but many vehicles do not any longer allow it because of the advanced airbag sensors in the seats, so you need to read both the car seat manual and the vehicle manual to determine if your radian can touch your seats, diono sells an angle adjuster that makes the radian sit at a 30 degree angle instead of 45 which helps a ton with front-to-back room.

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  12. In addition, the seat-angle pad offered by Diono for the Radian creates a surprising amount of space...we had a Radian RFing in a Ford Escort Wagon, hardly a big car.

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  13. i didnt read all the post on this page, maybe someone already asked, if these statistics are true wouldnt it be safer to just have a the back seats built into the car facing backwards? why dont they make them that way?

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