Monday, March 29, 2010

Keep them rear facing as long as possible!!!

I have always wondered what being 1 year old and/or 20 pounds had to do with whether or not a baby should sit forward facing in the car. Is it that they just needed a random number so they could write a law? Is it that something magical happens in the developing muscles of a baby right when they turn a year old or 20 pounds?

The real truth of the matter is that a baby of 12 months is not ready to be turned around in the car. The muscles of a 12 month old baby are still not developed enough to handle a crash while sitting in a forward facing position. 12 months and 20 pounds really just is a random number and I hope that this blog post will encourage my readers to do a little more research about the topic before turning your 12 month old 20 pounder.

We turned Martin around in his car seat immediately at 1 year old and 20 pounds. I didn't give it a second thought because that is just what you do, right?

Wrong. OH SO WRONG! At some point before Aaron was born, I started reading about this particular topic. The more I read, the more convinced I became that the longer I can sit them rear facing the better. So, Aaron sat rear facing until he was 18 months old. I did the same for Jonathan. I actually thought we were doing really good by keeping them rear facing until 18 months - but it's even better to keep them rear facing until they get to 30-35 pounds (at the point in which your particular convertible states it should be turned to forward facing) I went ahead and bought a convertible car seat for Rosalie, so we plan on keeping Rosalie rear facing until she outgrows the convertible. Listed below are a few articles to read about rear facing safety. If you have the time, please read them and consider keeping your infant rear facing!! Even if you have already turned your baby around - it's not too late to turn her back to rear facing! It's worth doing your own research on the topic! Your child's safety could depend on it!


  1. I think you already know that I am all for this. We did the same with Eliana and turned her when she hit 1. When little Penn was close to one I had learned a WHOLE lot of info about RFing vs. FFing. We turned Eliana back to RFing, but it only lasted a little while as she was getting car sick. That is one problem parents may have if their child is already been FFing.
    We then ended up getting her a Britax Regent seat that will keep her in a 5-point harness until she is 85 pounds - more on that later.
    Little Penn sat RFing until he hit the weight limit on his seat - 33 pounds. He was 2 1/2 years old!

    As for the 5 point harness vs a booster seat. I've learn that most 4 y/o (40 lbs) are not able to sit properly in a booster. This is an area you can search out as well. Keeping a child in a 5- point harness for as long as possible is just as good as keeping a toddler RFing longer than the Min. Also, the AAP now reccomends RFing until the age of 2!

  2. Yes! William RF'd until just over age 2; planning the same with Charlotte. William will remain in his 5-pt harness carseat for the forseeable future. It's a Radian so it has a high weight limit :)

  3. How do you keep them rear facing if they are too long to fit that way? I have done all of the research and totally understand why it is important to keep them rear facing as long as possible, but Abi (now 3 1/2) would still be rear facing if I went by pounds (she is only 27 pounds) and there is no way she would fit rear facing. And Amanda doesn't fit rear facing because her legs are too long. I am asking not to dispute, but for actual info as to how a child fits rear facing that long. Both of my girls moved to a convertible seat before the age of 1, but remained rear facing. I think Abi was rear facing for a while past 1 because she was tiny all over. Amanda I turned right at about 1. I really battled with this age/weight piece too, but I really couldn't get her to fit in the seat. Thanks for the post!

  4. In response to the last comment... Children's legs can bend. A lot of parents fear breaking a leg, but there really haven't been any reports of that. There is a saying in the RFing world that goes "Broken leg cast it. Broken neck casket"
    I did a quick google search for pics for you and here is one I found:
    Over in Europe they RF until the age of 5 or 6 (they also have larger carseats then we are able to get).
    Here's another picture:

    Also, when my son was done RFing, his feet (when he straigten his legs) were to the top of the headrest of the captains chair his carseat was in (we have a minivan). Kinda like this:

    Hope this helps!

  5. Thank you for the pics. I do totally believe in keeping them rear facing as long as possible. I never did fear breaking a leg, but maybe eating a knee :-) Even that would be better than the neck. Thank you everyone for the info! It is something not to be taken lightly. I have a feeling if I have another, I will do this quite differently..... And I think my 2 girls will be in 5 point harnesses for forever! These seats will expire before they are done with the 5 point harness. That I have fully researched :-) Thanks again! Great post!

  6. Thanks for responding, Janet. I really appreciate it. Janet answered just as I would have.

  7. Thank you for posting this. With my oldest we FF @ 10.5 months for about three weeks because of his weight, our fear of his legs breaking, family, our misinformation, etc. We turned him back FF just after a year. With our second we kept her RF until she was 15 months due to her weight. The things we've learned in all this time I feel awful for turning my kids so young. My oldest is still in a booster (almost 8), my second in a 5 pt harness (5), and youngest will remain RF until at least age 2.

  8. Not a problem Larissa!

    And Carrie, I feel the same way about my kids being in a 5-point harness. My oldest will be 8 1/2 when her seat expires and I know she will not have hit the weight/hight limit as it is a very large seat.