When did you switch your child to forward-facing in their carseat?
What made you decide it was the right time? (Age, weight, height, something else?)
If your child is at or near the age/height/weight range for being able to be forward-facing, but is still rear-facing, what made you choose that?
Sorry if these sound like silly questions. I'm trying to figure out what to do with my son. He's big for his age (roughly 30lbs/34in at 14 months) and is much more content to ride in the car when forward-facing. BUT I've read the guidelines and know that rear-facing is safer. So I'm just looking for feedback from families who have already made this decision.
kids under about 6 do not the cartilage in their spine hardened yet and are at seriously more risk for what is called internal decapitation, clearly a life threatening issue. since rear facing allows the seat to spread out the force and support their body they are 500% more likely to have a serious injury or death when forward facing. with that in mind you keep them rear facing as long as you possible can.
here are a few good things to keep in mind:
it is totally ok for their legs to be crossed, folded up or even kicked up on the seat. even worse case scenario, broken legs are a whole lot more fixable than a broken neck. and kids are usually pretty darn flexible and are normally quite comfy. (mine like it at lot more without shoes for longer rides so their feet are easier to slide on the seat.
NTSB recommend RearFacing till 4, AAP recommends a minimun of age 2
forward facing is not a cure all for car sickness, actually looking straight out the back window works best for a lot of kids., its having things block your view (including the driver seat) or looking out the side at things moving past too fast that causes most issues.
you can get great seats that have RF limits up to 50 pounds in the US and a number of choices that go to 40- or 45lbs
its age more than any size that determines when it is safe to forward face, larger kids still do not have stronger necks. so as long as you can find a seat that fits size wise, base the move on age most of all.
my kids just turned two and will stay rear facing till the very last day that they fit and i just bought seats that made sure that will be a very very very long time from now. there are so many grey areas in parenting, so many conflicting options, this one is a slam dunk, no brainer.
Extended Rear Facing should be the law, until then, lets make it the norm.
DD is 21 months and around 30-32 lbs. She only has 3-5 lbs to go until she outgrows her truefit for RF. Luckily we are expecting baby #2 and will be able to pass the truefit down and get her a radian (45 lb RF limit - highest I can find in Canada). She will RF until she outgrows that. She's a tall, solid kiddo and hits weight limits before height. My mom's car has a FF seat that we occasionally (reluctantly) use but over 99% of the time DD is RF and will remain so as long as possible. There's really just no good reason to turn her forward.
I'm so happy to see all these RF kids! My twins go to a nursery school two mornig a week and everyone is just turning two, I'm one of only 2 parents that RF. I'm really pretty saddened and kinda shocked how much bad info there is out there. I heard I sales man at buy buy baby tell a lady she should probably turn FF at about 9months! A year if she wanted to "wait a while" not only is that deadly, it completely illegal! And this was a guy in charge of selling Carseats!
For the record I just got two Foonfs that will RF till 50lbs, the way my twins are I the growth charts that is somewhere between 5 and 6! I assume they hit height a bit before that, but will keep then RF till they do.
The seats were expensive but not if you do the math and see how much use I will get out of them by the time they hit 65lbs the FF limit. And then there will still be sellable since they have 9year lifespans IIRC. They will take the all the way to a low back booster most likely, though we may go high back if we can anyway.
I figure I spend more on a good car stereo or a iPad and neither of those can safe my kids life. Wen you think of it that way, getting the safest and hopefully most comfy seat I can is a no brainer. I budgeted it in when I got my car loan last summer.
Not yet. Ds is nearly 4.5 years old and in size 5T and has a little bit of height left before we have to turn (Radian XTSL). DD will be 2 in January and is rearfacing with lots of room to grow in a Radian RXT.
I turned mine around just about a month ago, at 27 months. I was the last of everyone I know with kids his age to turn him around, but I felt and still feel really unsure about it (and all the posts here make me feel even less sure). That said, it has made our lives so much more flexible. Before I almost never took him anywhere longer than 10 minutes because he was so miserable in the car, and now we have so much fun in the car together, and we can go on longer trips. We talk about everything we see, and he is learning traffic signals and street names and directions. It's a really hard decision.
Thanks for the great responses, everyone. I honestly thought I knew all the pros and cons about RF vs. FF, but clearly I didn't. Adorkable, your info and videos were especially helpful.
We have a seat that allows DS to be RF until 40 or 50 lbs - I can't remember off the top of my head, but we'll be keeping him RF a good while longer. We're surrounded by friends and family here who turned their kids early - right at 12 months or soon after, so it's easy for me to feel like that's what I should do, too. Safety definitely trumps everything else in my book, though.
Sorry, I don't think I'm a horrible parent at all for allowing DD to FF - started at 10mos and NO IT WAS NOT ILLEGAL. Read your own state laws, minimum for us was 22lbs OR 1yr. She was uncomfortable and from the sounds of it getting severely carsick much like I do, so FF was the best option for us. Not everyone fits into these categories. I don't feel the least bit horrible or unsafe with her in the car. The seat is properly secured and she's properly secured in her seat - those are far more important than those who rear face and have the kid improperly strapped.
Thanks for your input, sassyfirechick. I don't think that makes you a horrible parent at all; I think everyone has to weigh the pros and cons for themselves and decide what works best for their family. Sounds like that's exactly what you did.
Both my older two who are now 5 and 7 made it until 4 in their Evenflo Triumph Advance carseats. They could have made it longer but they would get so sweaty in the summer time so we switched them then. They were shy of the weight limit by 2-3 pounds fully dressed.
DS is 12 months and still has a few years to go. He's following a similar growth curve as dd1 so even though he was bigger, i fully expect him to make it to 3 years old.
My son is 2, 30lbs, and still RFing in the True Fit. When he hits 35lbs (he's growing slow so it maybe a while) I plan to get a Radian. I'd really like to keep him RFing till 4. I know many will think I'm crazy, but if we ever get in a bad accident I can take comfort knowing I did everything I could to keep him safe!
I don't think its horrible to turn a kid who is getting sick in the car, but it is a risk you must weigh. You can still keep them in a 5pt harness FFing for a LONG time.
I don't think it's crazy to rearface long. It's just not the norm, yet. I have witnessed so many people I grew up with die in accidents - starting at age 9 to adults. Car accidents are very likely to happen statistically. No matter how safe we drive, others do not. I myself was hit by a motorcycle on a crosswalk and felt the immense forces on my body. It scares me A LOT.
For proper installation, safe kids offers free installation by CPSTs in most states. They will also tell you how to properly put your kid in - though I'd assume all parents on this board read their instruction manuals and are properly more informed than most parents (like no thick coats in the car, tight seatbelt, chest buckle at chest etc). DS is not only the only kid I know his age who rearfaces, he also is the only kid I know harnessed - everybody here puts 3 years + in boosters (the kind with the car seat belt), turns around at 1 year (local law says 20lbs AND 12 months). I even saw some nifty people installing an infant seat forward facing. Yup. I get lots of comments from DH's family when I will finally put DS around - kicker is he was ff for 3 weeks in April in Germany as my parents' car couldn't accommodate the Radian well - and he hated it. His feet dangled which he didn't like (he also didn't enjoy the flight forwardfacing due to this reason).
I think with my daughter she was almost 2? I don't remember exactly. She was in a FF seat till 3 1/2 then I switched her to a booster seat. She is now out of a booster (and has been since she was 5.) I think it depends on every situation. Just because a child is a certin age, dosnt mean they should move up. I have a neice that is going to be 6 in April, and she still needs a booster as she is *so* tiny! She was in a FF carseat til she was 5.
jenn jenn- I thought a child had to be in a booster till their 8 and 80lbs? I've also thought the height needed to be able to use a regular seat belt was 4'9".
I see way to many kids in real life either forward facing too soon or in boosters too soon. One of my son's friend's who just turned 4 is in a booster. I plan to keep my son harnessed for much longer. I rear faced him till 3 1/2. DD is 19 months and still rear facing.
My daughter was rear-facing until 2yrs3months. It would have been much longer if we had been able to get a carseat to accommodate her. In Australia the best seat at the time only went up to 12kg RF. She was in it til then.
DS was about 18 months when I turned him and he was in 5-point restraints till he was almost 5 and outgrew them. DD is now 20 months and still rear-facing. She has ridden forward facing a couple of times when I had to take the carseat out to clean the car and had trouble getting it back in right and it was dark. If I didn't know how much safer it is rear-facing, I'd leave her facing forward. It's so much easier to get her in and out of the car and it takes up so much less room in the car. But I can suck it up and deal with a bit of annoyance if it keeps DD safer. I turned it back to rear-facing two days ago before we went out of town for New Year's and it will stay that way. I think this kind of carseat allows for rear-facing to 40 pounds and DD is only about 25 pounds, so we still have a long way to go.
I kept DD rearfacing until 2 and some, she could have gone a bit longer, but not much in the seat we had. The law here is still 1 or 22 lbs here too I think, we kept her in her infant seat until she was almost 1 since she was small/light enough. I think that unless there are extenuating circumstances (car sickness is a big deal, I have that and am miserable and potential vomiting in any vehicle rear-facing, as others have said knees bending or sitting cross legged is no cause for concern), rearface as long as your seat will allow and try to purchase a seat that allows extended rear facing. If you have a new/newer seat, almost all allow quite a bit longer than even the seat I purchased 3.5 years ago, but fitting carseats into your car is also a big consideration too as some of those seats are getting so tall now that rearfacing can be quite a challenge in anything but a van/minivan/SUV.