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

Responses: 145

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Safest option

I didn't extended RF my older two, but after researching I decided it was the safest option, so my littlest is still RF and will be until he reaches the 40 pound limit for his carseat (we have the MyRide 65). He is a big baby, but it's not about size, it's about his bone development. His legs are fine and he doesn't know any different than rear facing.
—Guest Julie

rear face or front face?????

I understand the Reason of Rear facing carseat until the 2 year and 40lbs but It also depends on other circumstances as I know someone who's child had pelvic damage from being rear facing when the child legs were to long the only way in my eyes to keep a child rearfacing that long is to what cut a hole in your seat! How would you like to sit that way all the time when you go somewhere? If you have a short or petite child I am totally for the rear facing. A State Trooper told us if the childs legs are to long to turn them around hmmm listen to what they RECOMMEND or to a STATE TROOPER??? I choose the state trooper as My I have an old subburban and the old seatbelt would get in the way when trying to get her in or out of her seat so We were always hitting her head on the top of the truck, the carseat barely fit rear facing between the front seat and her carseat, She is tall and her legs were uncompfortable and it is not all in my head and My old vehicle is much safer then theese new one
—littlelivi

Tree

My daughter is 14 months and I recently turned her seat to FF but after reading up on the issue I will switch back to RF. It's really enjoyable having her FF and she is much happier but it's much more of a safety issue than I first realized and it's not worth the risk. I've been in 3 car accidents in less than a year, rear-ended twice and once she was in the car with me but was ok.
—Guest Tree

RF till over 2 and to 35 lbs

I just bought a new convertible car seat that goes to 35 lbs RF for my grandson who is 20 mo. and 30 lbs . , he got too big to be RF in the infant seat I had for my car. I had his mom in a car seat 36 yrs ago after my father , who was a firefighter ,saw kids in car accidents that were in these things called "car seats" that stopped them from getting hurt. Car seats were hard to find 35yrs ago and the only ones who I knew who used them were people who were police, firefighters, ambulance drivers , ER workers and people they knew and told about these great things called car seats. If you want to know why you should keep your kids RF as long as you can, talk to first responders and ER workers . They are the ones that can tell you what a difference it can make, they see the damage and death that could have been avoided .
—Guest Diana

Unsure

Our baby is still RF, but barely a year old. He is very tall for his age (32") and outgrowing his carseat by length. On the other hand, he is relatively trim at 19lbs. All the RF seats I've seen max out around 30" or 32", but the FF seats (and the law) want him to be 20lbs. We're not sure what to do here, but we'll be testing him in a FF seat to see whether the fit is okay, or if his low weight is a problem. **Editor's note - most high weight limit convertible car seats can accommodate a child of this height rear-facing. Just a few to try - Graco My Ride 65, Britax Boulevard 70, Diono Radian, The First Years True Fit.**
—Guest Guest Phil

The leading killer of children...

The leading killer of children are car accidents. Why not rear face a child until 4 years of age? Children in Sweden do this all the time! If you were to forward face a child before a 2, their neck could snap because children's bones are dense and aren't fused. Legs hitting the back of the seat are NOT a problem. In fact, broken legs are the most common injury for front facing children. This is because the child's legs and arms fly forward hitting the driver or passenger's seat in front of them. It is a myth- an old wives tale about children's legs breaking for longer rear facing. If a child's legs were to break when rear facing, then those forces are strong enough to break a young child's neck. If you have common sense, you will realize that broken necks are much more severe than broken legs.
—Guest Celine

carseats rear to front

i switched from rear to front when the kids legs were hanging over the infant seat my child was born in '93 and thats what they advised us to do back then my nephew who is 10 mos. is rear facing at 25 lbs. and after researching he will stay that way as long as possible.
—Guest a mom

omgosh

Its nice that everyone wants to share oppinions. My kids both of them heathy little beans are stronger than most doctors! They both went forward at 12 months and I do.t regret or. I have never been in an accident but have avoided plenty. Doing what is best for your child or for u doesn't always mean going with what everyone else is doing. I'm happy and my kids are happy and I'm there protector.
—Guest jane

Almost 4 and still rear facing

I'm puzzled by the "I'm not doing anything illegal by FF, RF is only a recommendation" argument. Isn't this about choosing the safest option, not merely a legal one? My son is a few weeks from his 4th birthday and still rear facing. He's near the RF weight limit for his seat; I'm not sure whether we'll turn him forward or see if there is a seat available with a higher RF limit.
—Guest Duck n Monkey

I used to be a naysayer too

When the new requirement came out, I too used to say that's ridiculous! I won't do that! No way! Its my choice! Well, then I started wondering WHY the new recomendation was being made and decided to look at a few videos and read a few articles and I then understood. Its not about the carseat being unsafe. Its not about the car seat at all. Its about the crash forces on the childs head and spinal cord. A childs spinal cord isn't fully fused until about the age of 2, thus making it more easy to snap and not be able to handle the force of even many minor crashes. This isn't to say they can't sustain them, but I for one decided that MY child was not going to find out. My son is 18 months and is still rearfacing. I will evaluate his height and weight at 2 and decide if we will continue. But I'm now an extended rearfacing convert. As the saying goes: Broken leg, cast it. Broken neck, casket. I say-NOT MY CHILD!
—Guest lawgirl5

FF

I am not doing anything wrong or illegal by FF my child at the appropriate weight and age. I have a certified seat...installed properly and my child is fastened safely. ERF is a recommendation only, not a law. Which means it is a CHOICE whether u want to do it or not. I’m sure there are many recommendations that we choose not to follow, even with our children. It is recommended we breastfeed....why? because it better and safer for our child....did we all breastfeed? NO.....it is recommended that we wait until they are 6 months old to feed them solids..... Why? because it is safer.....did we all wait? DOUBT IT. It is recommended that we not give them eggs, peanut butter, fish..etc. before they are 1....
—Guest FFmama

Also consider ...

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

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

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