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Readers Respond: How Long Did/Will Your Child's Car Seat Stay Rear-Facing? Why?

Responses: 134

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People are very fired up on this issue apparently. This may be a bit off topic, but if safety is your primary concern then please don't use your cell phone while driving (hands free or otherwise). Studies have shown that safety risk is the same for hands free versus hand held cell phone use. I suspect that car choice will also have a greater impact on your child'd safety than ff or rf. If a ff Suburban hits a rf Prius who do you think would be worse off? I don't know of any studies addressing this, but physics certainly does. You may also want to consider the driver. Don't let a young person (i.e. older sibling, young babysitter) drive your children around. Take a defensive driving course yourself. Don't let your concerns begin and end with the brand of car seat and rf vs. ff. (side note: my sister in law would not let your kids ride in my car with Graco car seats. She insisted her kids only use Britax
—Guest Dew

Still rear facing

My daughter is 17 months old and still RF but she is approaching the limit of the car seat so soon we will have to make the decision when to turn her FF. My feeling right now is to keep her RF until she reaches the seat limit and then decide if we are going to buy a bigger RF or turn to FF. It's been nothing but a hassle having her RF because the seat did not fit in any of my cars but when it comes to the safety of my child I do what needs to be done. So I bought a new car that fit the RF seat. She loves the car and is a great traveler so I guess RF doesn't bother her. In fact when we drove 10-1/2 hours to NC for a weekend trip she seemed very comfortable and slept most of the way. I might have a problem turning her FF when the time comes.
—Guest Mechi

buckle issues

I switched my daughter to FF at 18months, when I stopped at the gas station 5 min from my house, she was undoing and doing up the harness strap!!! scared me that she could have her seatbelt partly undone because she was so bored and clever. She was over the weight and height to be turned to FF in her carseat so even though yeah we could have left her rf for longer I didnt feel it was any safer with her toying with the seatbelt. She stopped playing with it after she was ff cause she was busy watching everything else. Oh and it was a 'Graco Myride 65' .
—Guest AmandaM

something to ponder

I completely understand why rf is the safest choice and planned on keeping my sweet baby that way until 2 or beyond until I read a book about a lady crashing into a lake unable to retrieve her child from the car seat. I immediately put Ian's car seat forward facing and in the center of the backseat. I taught myself how to unbuckle it with one head while not looking. I think there are scenarios where one can be safer than the other, but in the instance of crashing into water or your car catching on fire, forward facing would make retrieving your child a lot easier. I know it sounds paranoid, but honestly anything could happen. I even keep scissors in my center console just in case I cant undo his or my seat belt. Just food for thought. I think before we judge each other as mothers, we should consider all possibilities and realize that no car seat position is a cure all for car accidents. Editor's note: Crashes involving water are far less likely than other types of crashes where rear-facing might be important.
—Guest Katie

unecessary risk is for Vegas

I cant believe people read the article and are still stubbornly clinging to the, "Its my right," and, "his whitte legs are uncomfortable," arguements. Possibly my favorite arguement is, "its so inconvienent." I just dont understand the arguement :-( WIC moms can apply for a free carseat for their child aged 0-5 that RF to at least 35 pounds. My boy is almost at the height
—Guest teresa

Rear for me!

My daughter is 14 months old and she is still rear facing. I plan to keep her RF for as long as possible. It is proven to be the safest position for her, and her safety is my #1 priority. She is not very fond of being in the car, and never has been. For parents having the same problem, we took our girl to the chiropractor and it has worked wonders. She no longer "melts down" when we put her in the car seat and car. Back to the point, she will remain RF until at least her 2nd birthday, if not longer.
—Guest NurseMommy

I'm confused

I'm very confused that a person would turn their baby ff before 1 year of age because they can't find a convertible seat that their child isn't too tall for. Did you look for carseats with your eyes closed? 4 year olds rf in the cosco scenera sold at walmart for $39. Walmart also sells the evenflo tribute for $39 wich would get any child at least to age 2 rf. If you have a little more money, the Graco myride 65, saftey 1st complete air 65, and evenflo triumph 65 all can be easily found for at or under $150. All three rf to 40 lbs. And my chevy cavalier holds any rf seat I try to install. most stores let you install the seat in your car before purchasing it so you can try several before making your selection. If you want to ff your kid, just say so. Don't lie and say your car is too small, or your seat is too big, or worse, your baby is too big. None of those things are true.
—Guest Annabel

1 year/20lbs

Forward facing or rear facing, the baby is still the safest person in the car. He's not flying out the windshield, and he's got an extra shell around him that the rest of us don't. I understand all the other risks and the debate, and of course I want my son as safe as possible, but there's a point where it becomes ridiculous. Almost four and still rear facing? I actually took a car seat class when I was pregnant, and they said that rear facing is always safer, but you need to turn him around because kids' legs get long and strong and they kick the back of the chair and loosen the car seat, making it LESS SAFE. Also, if you keep them rear facing too long and their feet all crooked they could become bow legged. Car seats are extremely safe, forward or rear facing. If they weren't safe forward facing then there wouldn't be a setting, and they'd tell you to chunk it after they grow out of rf then strap him in with a seat belt like the rest of us. Editors note: There's no evidence that extended rear-facing results in bow-legged children. All car seats should be checked occasionally and be re-tightened if necessary. In countries with far better car seat safety cultures than the U.S., it actually is common for kids to go from extended rear-facing to a booster, skipping the forward-facing harness.
—Guest Liv

its your choice

As for the heat, I got a clip on fan that plugs into the cig lighter, and believe me it hits my child better then if he was forward facing and ac was hitting him. Its your choice to ff before the recommended age, a friends daughter was 2 when they were traveling to visit family and she died from her injuries, she was ff and broke her neck. That was her parents choice to do that.
—Guest mama p

RF til 2, harness to until 4/40 lbs+

I don't know of any convertible seats that have a RF limit of 20 lbs like many people on here have claimed. Most go to 35+. And it is not a big deal for children to be sitting cross legged or with their legs to the side. As long as their head is at least one inch below the top of the shell, they still fit in the seat. If the harness is too tight - then it needs to be adjusted. Sitting FF can cause a child's spinal cord to stretch and snap in an accident which results in internal decapitation which would cause severe injuries or death. As for the cost/size of a carseat - you can find plenty of good seats that fit your budget and the size of your car if you hunt around. For that matter - you can save money by skipping the infant seat and using a convertible seat RF from birth (you need to find one that fits newborns, however. Combi Coccoro is one).
—Guest Alicia

3.5 yrs and counting.

My son is currently 3.5 yrs old and comfortably, happily, safely rear facing. I have THE most important reason in the world to keep him that way (his safety, his LIFE) and have yet to encounter a single good reason not to. Like EVERY child he is flexible and innovative enough to cross/bend his legs to find a comfortable position (as opposed to having them dangle very uncomfortably like he would in a forward facing seat). Like most he went through a phase when he didn't appreciate being strapped in PERIOD but we weathered through it and he eventually grew out of it. I have no business watching or entertaining him while driving anyway so that is never a problem and his view out of the side window is in no way hindered by sitting facing one direction instead of another. As a parent my personal agenda and pride have no bearing on what is factually proven, without reasonable dispute, to be the safest thing for my child and thus, he rear faces to the maximum.
—Guest MommySquared

one year/20 lbs

I forward faced her seat two weeks before her first bd because its so hot and she wasnt getting any a/c rearfacing..temps are 110-115.
—Guest hfarmer

11 months

my son is 11 months and is still rf. and will continue to do so until he is too big for the car seat he is 27 pounds and 31 inches. he is like 4 inches from the top of his rf car seat and i plan on turning him ff when he is an inch from the top like the state and the manufacturer require.
—Guest chrystal

Choice

As long as parents follow the proper laws, then it should be their choice. I have a four year old who has been in the 98% since 6months, there is no way by age two he could have been RF. Everyones child is different, we followed the law until his feet were jammed against the back seat. Some people take great stride in giving their opinion about how unsafe some parents are, keep it to yourself. I have taken great strides in being safe for many aspects of my children and am amazed that some 'people' have the nerve to tell others how 'dumb' or 'wrong' they are for determining when a car seat should face forward. There are laws, follow them, and then make your own choice. Parents Choice
—Guest Mc Roberts

Rear facing/leg cramping?

My son is 1 now and a big boy, 33 inches tall and 27 lbs. He is in a rear facing seat for now. As soon as he seems "cramped" i am switching to forward facing, regardless of recommendations i will use my own judgement. I cant believe some of the photos on this page, with a 3.5 year old in a rear facing seat and her legs are basially propped up on the seat back because shes too tall for it. How comfortable/safe is that? DUH
—Guest MsUsa

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