Saturday, December 18, 2010

extended rearfacing questions and answers.

Isn't he big enough to turn his carseat aroundf?

Technically, yes, Henry is big enough to face the front.  He reached the minimum requirements of 20 pounds and 12 months old many moons ago.  But, the minimum requirements are just that, the minimum weight and age required by law. 

Then, why is he still rearfacing at 28 months old?

The rear-facing child has the frontal crash forces spread over their back, head and neck (a large portion of the body) in an accident. The rear-facing child is also supported by the back of the car seat meaning there is little stretching of the neck.

 The forward-facing child's torso is restrained by their harness straps. The head of the child however is restrained by nothing and thrusts violently forward, which places them at risk of serious spinal cord injury or even worse, death.

Rear-facing child restraints also offer significant safety advantages in side and frontal offset impacts. When rear-facing in a side-on or frontal offset impact, the head of the child is better kept within the confines of the seat and can reap the benefits of the restraints side wings for protection.

Wouldn't he rather face the front?
No.  Henry has faced the rear his entire life and knows no different.  He is happy and content rearfacing.  We look at each other through my rearview mirror and his backseat mounted mirror so there is no problem with communication or checking to make sure he is okay back there.  

Aren't his legs uncomfortable?
Henry is small, always has been and probably always will be.  But, even if he were tall we would have kept him rearfacing for two years.  Kids are flexible and don't adhere to adult concepts of comfort.  There are no documented cases of a child's legs/hips breaking while rearfacing in a car wreck.  However there are plenty of documented cases of spinal cord and neck injuries sustained while forward facing in a car wreck.  Personally, I would rather deal with therisk of broken legs than the possibility of a broken neck any day of the week.

When are you going to turn him around?
Originally, the goal was to keep Henry rearfacing until two.  His 2nd birthday arrived and he was still well within the 35 pound rearfacing limit of his Britax Marathon.  That, combined with the fact that his vertebrae are still immature and not strong enough to protect his spinal cord in the event of a life-threatening car wreck made the decision to keep him rearfacing an easy one.  Liza has already made the switch to her Sunshine Kids Radian 80.  Her seat rearfaces to 45 pounds so she will be rearfacing for several years to come.  Both of these seats are convertible seats that  rearface and forwardface.  With these seats' high price tags also comes high weight limits so these are the only carseats our kids will ever need.  

Please do the research for yourself to reach your own conclusion about protecting your toddler in the car:


Anonymous said...

I am right there with you. My son is 18 months and I don't plan on turning him around until at least 2 - hopefully longer. It doesn't bother him at all, so since it's safer that's the way he's staying. I get the most questions from my mother-in-law and her mother..."are you ever going to turn him around". I always just say he's perfectly happy that way and the aap recommends rear facing as long as possible. Soon I'm going to tell them to watch crash tests online - maybe that will keep them from asking so much

TheDearmanFamily said...

This is definitely the video to show them. Quick and to the point. It makes me physically ill to see the forward facing wreck even if it is with a dummy. I can't imagine my babies' bodies flinging around like that.......

Anonymous said...

I commend you for keeping him rear-facing. We just turned our son around - he's 20 months old. People always asked when I was going to turn the seat around. I explained it was a matter of safety and he was going to stay that way until he couldn't stand it anymore. Well, at 19 months and about 36 inches tall (yeah, he's a tall boy), he protested and pushed his legs against the seat every time we put him in there. But honestly, I was hoping I could keep him rear-facing until 2.

The Brown's said...

amen to that!
my own soapbox is playing over in my head
isabel has been in the 90th percentile in height since 9 months and since rear facing is all she has known she'll be kicking that backseat for many many more pounds.