As a car seat tech my FAVORITE interactions are with first time parents. By speaking to them early it sets them up with the correct information from the very beginning.
About the turning issue this is what I tell them:
Turning your child is NOT a milestone to be reached like crawling or walking. When you turn your child forward facing you are DECREASING their safety in the car. We would all be safer rear facing, but it would be difficult to drive that way!
One of the links on the site that has been mentioned in this thread already states:"...very young children have immature vertebrae that are still partly made of cartilage. These are soft and will deform and/or separate under tension, leaving the spinal cord as the last link between the head and the torso. It is similar to pulling an electric cord from the socket by the cord instead of the plug and breaking the wires. This scenario is based on actual physiological measures. According to documented research, autopsy specimens of infant spines and ligaments allow for spinal column elongation of up to two inches, but the spinal cord ruptures if stretched more than 1/4 inch.
Real-world experience has also shown that a young child's skull can be literally ripped from her spine by the force of a crash. The body is being held in place, but the head is not. When a child is facing rearward, the head is cradled and moves in unison with the body, so that there is little or no relative motion that might pull on the connecting neck."
This is the link to the above quote... it's a great explanation of the science behind why a child should stay rear facing... so it may appeal to those dads that still need some convincing.http://www.carseat.org/Technical/tec....htm#rearfacFF
I talk to parents about changing their mindset from "When CAN I turn my child?" to "When do I HAVE TO turn my child?"
This is also true when moving a child out of a 5pt harness into a booster seat. Rear facing is SAFER than forward facing and 5pt harnesses are SAFER than seat belts (in or out of a booster seat). We always want to keep a child as safe as possible for as long as we can. Switching from a booster seat to a PROPERLY FITTING seat belt has no decrease in safety.
I also heartily agree with the suggestion to GET YOUR CHILD'S CAR SEAT CHECKED by a CERTIFIED Child Passenger Safety Technician. The previous link will help you find one. If you call your local police or fire station and they say they check seats MAKE SURE they are certified... not all of them are.
FWIW, we turned my dd (now 3.5yo) around just at her 2nd birthday. She was riding in a Britax Advantage and a Fisher Price Safe Embrace and outgrew both of them by height waaaay before she hit the rear facing weight limits. Now she's outgrowing them by height forward facing and I'm not ready to put her in a booster seat yet so I am buying two new seats so she can stay harnessed longer.
It's hard to keep up w/ all the ins and outs of keeping our kids safe in cars. To become I tech I had to take a four day class ...all about seat belts, crash forces and car seats. But taking the class is just the beginning, keeping up w/ technology, new seats and new research is almost as import..sometimes more so.
Good luck...and if you need anymore info just give a yell.