Is there a reasonable limit to RFing? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

My DD is almost 2.5yo. She's ~23 lbs and 32" in height.

She is currently RFing in a Triumph. Obviously she has plenty of room both in shell height and weight limit. Before she was born my plan was to keep her RFing until the limits of her seat. But my main experience was with my nieces and nephews. 3 of the 5 were 20lbs at 4 months, and the others were 20 lbs by 6 or 7 months. So I was thinking that she'd hit 30lbs like they did by 18 months at the latest.

We're planning a bunch of road trips this summer. Right now we're thinking that we will leave her RFing so that it's easier for her to hold the portable DVD player and her magnadoodle and other toys. So we're mainly thinking ahead to next fall.

But we are re-evaluating our position. What if she's still under 30lbs (or whatever the limit is 33?) at 3? What if she's still tiny at 4?

We've done research on it. We know it's much safer for anyone to be RFing. But that's not the only factor. It would be really nice to be able to interact with her more. We hope to have a baby within the next year and it would be nice to have her be able to look at the baby and help us out with keeping the baby happy.

So I'm interested in other people's experiences with having to make the choice to turn from RFing to FFing before the limits of the seat once the child is ~3+.
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#2 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 12:47 AM
 
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My DD will turn 3 in 2 weeks. She is 29 ish lbs and still has at least 3-4 inches of growing room RFing. I figure we'll get to at least the winter RFing due to wearing less clothes in the summer. We hope to have a baby next spring and we'll turn her at that point if she hasn't outgrown RFing limits by then, mostly because DH is very tall and there is no way we can do 2 RFing seats in our sedan.

We have a large mirror in the backseat so I can see her. We interact fine, she talks I hear her, etc. It is easier for me to hand her stuff RFing vs FFing because I am short. She sleeps better RFing. And I like being able to have some "away" time from her in the car sometimes, we are together 24/7 you know?

Since she has always been RFing it seems perfectly normal to us. I always think it is weird to see little babies (just turned 1 yos) FFing when my 3 yo is RFing. We have FFed her in other people's cars and on vacation she doesn't seem to mind switching back and forth. Like you said it is safer - 5x safer so why risk it? There was a car accident literally down the street from us, a fatal accident. I always think that could have been us, it could have been DD, but RFing in her seat she if 5x more likely to have survived the crash.

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#3 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She recently moved up to room 2 at daycare. And I keep seeing kids in room 1 (18 to 28 months) who are FFing and she's still RFing. I haven't seen a single other RFing carseat that wasn't for an infant sibling.

It's getting to the point where I'm feeling weird about it. I'm not going to change just because that's what everyone else is doing, but I'm definitely feeling the difference.

But this isn't the last time this is going to come up. She'll still be in a 5 point harness long after her friends are out of boosters... (The law is only until 4 here).
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#4 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 01:20 AM
 
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Dd was RF to 3.5yrs. It was never weird other than the fact no one else rf that long

She was fine. She was safe.

In parts of Europe they rf to around age 5 or so.

-Angela
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#5 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Dd was RF to 3.5yrs. It was never weird other than the fact no one else rf that long

She was fine. She was safe.

In parts of Europe they rf to around age 5 or so.

-Angela
Sadly we're not in Sweden (most places in "Europe" don't RF until 5 - my family in France gets their kids out of car seats by 3 or 4).

Obviously she's "fine" with it and of course she's safe.

But I'm interested in the other factors. I worry that she's missing out on seeing things. I have very fond memories of watching signs fly towards me and zoom away. I also was able to navigate my parents to my grandparent's house (20 minutes away) when I was 2.5... But I could see where I was going. It makes me slightly sad that she's missing that.

It's also getting more complicated with getting a ride from other people. My sister has 3 carseats and a booster in her van. But they are all FFing. So everytime it would be nice to go somewhere all together I have to decide whether or not to hold firm and take 2 cars (or not go if I don't have the car) or bend and let DD ride FFing. If I'm OK with it for short trips (which I am now) then why not all the time? My BFF has a DD about the same size as my DD. There have been times when it's nice for her to pick us up. But that seat's FFing as well.
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#6 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 01:38 AM
 
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Sadly we're not in Sweden (most places in "Europe" don't RF until 5 - my family in France gets their kids out of car seats by 3 or 4).

Obviously she's "fine" with it and of course she's safe.

But I'm interested in the other factors. I worry that she's missing out on seeing things. I have very fond memories of watching signs fly towards me and zoom away. I also was able to navigate my parents to my grandparent's house (20 minutes away) when I was 2.5... But I could see where I was going. It makes me slightly sad that she's missing that.

It's also getting more complicated with getting a ride from other people. My sister has 3 carseats and a booster in her van. But they are all FFing. So everytime it would be nice to go somewhere all together I have to decide whether or not to hold firm and take 2 cars (or not go if I don't have the car) or bend and let DD ride FFing. If I'm OK with it for short trips (which I am now) then why not all the time? My BFF has a DD about the same size as my DD. There have been times when it's nice for her to pick us up. But that seat's FFing as well.
Have you read the studies on the statistical difference in safety? As I recall, rf is 500% safer. Internal decapitation is a real risk with a ff toddler.

Dd could see TONS when rf (small sedan, high seat) In fact, I think she could see LESS when ff (seat back directly in front of her- couldn't see out the windshield well, so only the side window, instead of the side and the back)

And yeah, logistics are just tough with little kids IME. Dd doesn't ride with anyone but us or my parents as that's where our carseats are.

-Angela
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#7 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you read the studies on the statistical difference in safety? As I recall, rf is 500% safer. Internal decapitation is a real risk with a ff toddler.
Have you read my OP?

I know the "facts". That's why my 2.5yo is still RFing.

This issue isn't just about the raw stats. It is much more complex because there are people involved.
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#8 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 01:59 AM
 
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Of course you're dealing with actual people We all are.

What I'm saying is that I didn't notice any of the "positives" to being ff actually made any difference.

I didn't find it any easier to talk to dd (actually a little harder as her head was further from my ears...) She didn't see more out of the car window. She wasn't more comfortable. I can't speak from first hand experience to the sibling, as ds wasn't born until after she was ff- but where their seats were in our Civic, she could have reached him just fine if they were both rf.

I DID notice that there was often head droop when napping when ff... Doesn't seem to bother her, but sure looks uncomfortable. Her head never fell forward while rf.

After 3 or so, I could be okay for ff for short trips now and then. why not all the time? Simple statistics- more hours in the car= greater chance of accident. Just like I will be okay with dd in a booster for short trips or now and then, before I'm okay with her in a booster all the time. Convenience plays a factor.

-Angela
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#9 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 02:09 AM
 
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#11 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 06:14 AM
 
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I turned my oldest DD forward-facing in her Roundabout when she was 2.5, though she was still tiny (but over 22lbs). No reason, I got frustrated by something getting-in-the-car related and decided to switch things up to distract her. She was 2.5, it was 2004, I was doing pretty good! At 3.5, I moved her 6mo old baby sister from her infant bucket to our other, matching, Roundabout, and DD1 asked if SHE could go rearfacing, too, like DD2. So, yeah, sure, she still fit at that point (30lb RF limit seat, and very short kid); it only lasted about 4 months before she her head reached the top of the seat (its stated RF limit). When she was about 4.5 I got a great deal on a Britax Wizard, which had a 33lb RF limit and taller shell, and offered that I could put it in RF and she jumped at the opportunity; she was a bit over 30lbs, though, and heading into a growth spurt, so that only lasted a few months as well.

She still, at 7.5, laments the fact that she can't fit any available seats rear-facing.

She's got a great visual brain, draws detailed maps of our house and yard, and doesn't seem to have been hampered at all emotionally or intellectually by all that rear-facing.

(For the record, I turned my younger DD at a bit over 2.5; she was bigger than her sister, and expressed a strong preference, "I want to face that way," and I chose to honor her communication at that point, knowing that she was still very safe in a forward facing tethered 5pt harness seat; DD1 has never understood why DD2 didn't want to stay RF as long as she possibly could)

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#12 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 09:51 AM
 
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My oldest was RF until almost 4. He loved it, and now at 6 he has had plenty of time to look at signs and know where we're going and tell me how to drive. He complained a lot when I turned him FF. It was really uncomfortable for him. RF he could cross his legs, or prop them up on the seat back. FF, they just hung there. Now that he's bigger it's okay because his legs are long enough to rest on the seat of the car or the seat in front of him.
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#13 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 10:22 AM
 
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We will be turning my almost three year old around in April or May (his birthday is in April.) He is 28 lbs, 39 inches tall and has about an inch and a quarter of shell above his head. We'll be turning his Marathon bit early for the following reasons:

-It takes a lot of maneuvering to get him into the car with the seat rear facing and 9 time out of ten we bump something (usually his head ) on the way it or out no matter how careful we are.
-He is all leg and has literally run out of room rear facing. I know the internet experts that be think this is impossible, but he is seriously at the point where his knees/feet are jammed into the back of the seat once he is buckled in. We currently have him dangling his legs over the sides of the MA, but if the trip is more than 10 minutes or so he ends up crying and screaming that his legs are asleep.
-He has been complaining that his hips hurt whenever we put him in the seat.

We have been to two CPST (both of whom support ERF) now to see if changing the angle of the seat would give him more leg room and both suggested that we turn him forward facing since he is obviously uncomfortable and we really have a very limited time left to rear face anyways.
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#14 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 10:53 AM
 
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I'll chime in since DD1 is still RF at 5 yrs old. She has no problems being RF still. She's in a Britax Wizard (which has wide wings) so it restricts her seeing more but she can still communicate about what she sees outside. We play I Spy too. Her sister is RF and she is able to talk and play with her next to her with no issues. She has asked why her seat is not forward like her friends but I explain that it's safer for her to be this way.

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#15 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 10:59 AM
 
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My 2 year old is 23 lbs. I plan to keep her RF until she reaches the limit of her seat (33 lbs). However, if by 4 she was freaking out about still being RF, I would consider turning her around. I don't know yet, though, that is 2 years away. 2.5 is not old enough for me, though.
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#16 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 11:19 AM
 
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DD is 2.5 years old, very verbal and social, and rearfacing in a Boulevard. She's never complained at all. She recognizes when we're close to home, the library, her favorite park, etc. I have no trouble talking to her RF. She talks like crazy in the car. I sometimes point out things on the road, but I wait until they're beside/behind us. It's much easier for me to hand her things this way as I'm really short.

We've carpooled with friends with FF toddlers, and though the older siblings sometimes asked why her seat was RF (I simply said she was safer that way), DD never seemed the least bit bothered by the difference. Other parents sometimes question, but she doesn't seem the least bit bothered by their questions (and neither am I).

I hoped to make it to 4 years old RF, but if DD doesn't start to thin out soon, I think I'll have to flip her closer to 3 She's currently 30.5lbs, but short. I'm hoping she grows up and not out for awhile. The boulevard in my car has a limit of 33lbs, but the one in DH's car goes to 35lbs... I'm not sure what we'll do when she reaches one limit and not the other. Perhaps we'll go back to using only one seat and re-installing it when needed so she can stay RF for the extra 2 lbs. I'm not at all ready to flip her.

I'm due with #2 right at DD's 3rd birthday. We planned this pregnancy expecting to have 2 rearfacing at least for awhile. Besides the whole issue of fitting two rearfacing carseats in our little civics, I don't see any problem with it at all. We're hoping to buy a larger car early next year, presumably before the baby switches to a convertible.

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#17 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 11:23 AM
 
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My daughter is almost 4, and she is still RF. It is a bit weird to drop her off at pre-school, where most of the other kids are in boosters, with a handful harnessed FF, and she is the only one RF. However, I know she is safest RF, so she will remain RF until she maxes out the limits of her seat.

I'm absolutely dreading the day I have to turn her FF. In addition to it being less safe, it seems like it will be a big pain to get her into the car. Now, she can climb into the seat herself, using the car's seat back as well as the shell of her seat to help her. When she has to go FF, she will have not have that support to get into her seat; it will be harder to get her in FF.
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#18 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 12:09 PM
 
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what's even weirder is having your almost 9 year old in a 5 point harness when her friends are all being dropped off at school with NO carseat whatsoever. It's downright twilight zone.

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#19 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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As a mom who turned her first 3 forward facing at 1yr (and more then 20 lbs) i knew to keep them for the 1 and 20 at the time but not longer then that, with my son , who is now 6, i remember being impressed that the seats where rear facing till 30 lbs, i thought it was for those heavy babies.. my oldest was 23 lbs at 1 and was actually over the 20 lb rear facing limit of her convertible seat of the time.. but i waited till she was 1... anyway point being i was trying to do the best i knew! and i was the weird one having her rear face till then!
know with my youngest and knowing about ERF, my 23 month old is still rear facing at 24 lbs and still has a 4 inches till she is to tall to rear face in her marathon... i did turn her around once and i actually really don't like the marathon forward facing in my grand caravan! it goes in tight but i doing know it just doesn't look as comfy as rear facing.. that and the safety i turned her back around after just one trip.... oh and she seems to like the rear facing because she can see all the older kids in the back and next to her!

i don't know when i will turn her around.. i am leaning towards the limits or her seat. but right now its till 2, and then we will see, i figure small goals then see whats next.

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#20 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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If a really small child was still under 35lbs at, say 4 or 5, I'd think about turning them. I absolutely wouldn't do it under 3. By 3-5, the body has caught up a bit with the head, so it's not quite as critical. I'm really hoping my 22lb 10month old makes it to 3 before she hits 35lb.

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#21 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies.

I can say with certainty that she won't be 30lbs before she's 3. She was ~16lbs at 1 and 23lbs at 2 and I don't she's put on much, if any weight since then.

It might be the way our car and carseat are configured, but I know that she can't see much out her windows. I've stuck my head in the carseat, and I sure can't see anything.

We also can't reach her to hand her anything. That makes it a big PITA to and from daycare when she wants more snack. We could reach her with her old carseat (Titan, which was in an accident), and that worked well. But the triumph is so huge that we can't reach around.

She will almost definately be RFing until the fall. But I have to admit the snow was really annoying this winter. She'd have snow on her boots, and even if we'd try to get it off there would still be some. Then it would melt in the car and run down her legs, and she'd cry about the cold water. It also meant the carseat cover was always getting soaked (like if she played in the snow for a few minutes before getting in the car). Then it would freeze and only melt when she sat in it causing her clothes to get wet. She also couldn't climb in with her boots on, so we had to lift her in. And we were always bumping her head.

I guess we'll decide before next winter.
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#22 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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How about a "boots off in the car" rule? Seems like that would solve a lot of your problems. Would a different position help with handing her stuff? I can hand my DD stuff in her TF even with the headrest on, and it's huge. She needs to be on the passenger side though, it's a lot harder to reach her if she's in the center position. RF on the passenger side is MUCH safer than FF in the center...

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#23 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How about a "boots off in the car" rule? Seems like that would solve a lot of your problems. Would a different position help with handing her stuff? I can hand my DD stuff in her TF even with the headrest on, and it's huge. She needs to be on the passenger side though, it's a lot harder to reach her if she's in the center position. RF on the passenger side is MUCH safer than FF in the center...
It's much too cold here for most of the winter for her to take her boots off in the car. That would also mean I would have to take off my gloves to put them back on her before getting her out of the car.

She's RFing on the drivers side. Driver's side is safer than passenger side and we can't get a good install in the center. The back seat has a hump in the middle.

As I said - we're starting to think about what we're going to do next winter. this summer seems pretty settled. With all the road trips it will be easier for her and the DVD player if she's RFing (unless that causes her to get carsick - and we'll deal with that when we get there).
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#24 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 01:42 PM
 
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It's getting to the point where I'm feeling weird about it. I'm not going to change just because that's what everyone else is doing, but I'm definitely feeling the difference.

But this isn't the last time this is going to come up. She'll still be in a 5 point harness long after her friends are out of boosters... (The law is only until 4 here).
FWIW, I'd rather be weird and keep my kids as safe as possible. DD3 is about the size of your DD and still happily rear facing. She can see just fine as she's always talking about the cars, trees, trucks, or birds that she's seeing. She just sees these things after everyone else. lol!! DD2 is 6yo and still in a 5-pt harness and will be until she outgrows the seat. She has probably 3" of torso height before she's too big for the seat (and 40-lbs of weight, but she's going to outgrow the height first for sure).

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It's also getting more complicated with getting a ride from other people. My sister has 3 carseats and a booster in her van. But they are all FFing. So everytime it would be nice to go somewhere all together I have to decide whether or not to hold firm and take 2 cars (or not go if I don't have the car) or bend and let DD ride FFing. If I'm OK with it for short trips (which I am now) then why not all the time? My BFF has a DD about the same size as my DD. There have been times when it's nice for her to pick us up. But that seat's FFing as well.
I do let my DD2 (6yo) ride in a booster seat for carpools, but I won't do it full time. I know she's safer in a 5pt harness so she's in one in my car, but for carpool, I figure she's safer in a booster than a quickly and improperly installed 5pt harness. She's the youngest in the carpool so none of the other parents have 5pt harness seats installed in their cars anymore. I do hear your logic of if it's okay once in a while it should be okay all the time though I've decided that logic that didn't work for us concerning DD2 and 5pt vs. booster.

Good luck figuring it all out.

Mama to three sweet girls (a dramatic, chatty 10yo, a bouncy, dynamo of a 7yo, and a delightful, whimsical 3.5yo)
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#25 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 02:46 PM
 
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It's much too cold here for most of the winter for her to take her boots off in the car. That would also mean I would have to take off my gloves to put them back on her before getting her out of the car.
Okay, I live in the Canadian prairies. It's darn cold here. Bitter wind chill and it's not uncommon for temps to be as low as -30°C (-22°F) without the windchill factored in! Now that I've got that clear removing boots is a great solution and we do it everyday. DD has a pair of boots that I can easily slip on and off with gloves on. We take a small fleece blanket with us (we don't leave it in the vehicle since it's too cold to do so) and wrap it around her feet in the vehicle. It might be worth a try for you. It sure is better than snow, water, and slush all over her seat and yours.

Also, this issue doesn't get resolved FF. I've had a FF kid and she would balance her boots on the edge of the vehicle seat and it would get soaked, or she'd kick her feet into the seat in front of her and spray snow and water everywhere. After I realize it was happening, we started a boot removal routine with her. And it was much harder to have a blanket stay wrapped around her feet FF! At least RF it doesn't fall off onto the dirty floor.

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Originally Posted by AliveMama View Post
She's RFing on the drivers side. Driver's side is safer than passenger side and we can't get a good install in the center. The back seat has a hump in the middle.
Is it the driver handing her things? or the passenger? If it's the driver, can you hand her something over the top of her seat? I believe the True Fit is taller than the EFTA, and I am able to reach back and hand DD things over the top of the seat when I am driving (well I do it when I am stopped at a stop sign or a red light ).

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#26 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by TechnoGranola View Post
Is it the driver handing her things? or the passenger? If it's the driver, can you hand her something over the top of her seat? I believe the True Fit is taller than the EFTA, and I am able to reach back and hand DD things over the top of the seat when I am driving (well I do it when I am stopped at a stop sign or a red light ).
Right now she doesn't get handed much of anything. I refuse to do it while driving (and I do most of the driving) because I believe that accident avoidance is very important. DH, who is often in the passenger seat, isn't very tall.

When we do hand her things it's around the side. We have a Corolla and it wouldn't work to hand her things over the top.

What's mainly happened is that she's discovered how to "fling" things. So her empty snack trap gets flung into the front seat. And it's annoying to get pegged in the head while driving. (And yes, that meant that for a couple days we tried not giving her a snack, but that really sucked for all involved because she's hungry after daycare and we aren't allowed to bring food into the building so she can't eat before we leave).

Right now we're not changing anything.

But the stories are interesting. There is an interesting mix of problems being resolved or not through turning a kid around.
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#27 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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i plan to keep DD rearfacing until she hits the weight or height limit. the only exception to this will be if we have a new baby. we can't have 2 rear-facing seats in our car because our car is too small. so if she hasn't hit the weight and height limits, we'll still turn her for a new baby

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#28 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AliveMama View Post
She recently moved up to room 2 at daycare. And I keep seeing kids in room 1 (18 to 28 months) who are FFing and she's still RFing. I haven't seen a single other RFing carseat that wasn't for an infant sibling.

It's getting to the point where I'm feeling weird about it. I'm not going to change just because that's what everyone else is doing, but I'm definitely feeling the difference.

But this isn't the last time this is going to come up. She'll still be in a 5 point harness long after her friends are out of boosters... (The law is only until 4 here).
I belong to a great, great natural parenting group here where I live. With lots of mamas who breastfeed until kids are 2-3, eat organic, AP, etc. They are very concerned with their kids lives and health. I am still 1 of the very few who extended rearfaces their child. I know of 2 who FFed their under 1 kids - 1 was 11 months and the other was only 6 months. I just don't get it myself, but I will still keep DD RFing because it is safer.

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#29 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 04:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AliveMama View Post
Sadly we're not in Sweden (most places in "Europe" don't RF until 5 - my family in France gets their kids out of car seats by 3 or 4).

Obviously she's "fine" with it and of course she's safe.

But I'm interested in the other factors. I worry that she's missing out on seeing things. I have very fond memories of watching signs fly towards me and zoom away. I also was able to navigate my parents to my grandparent's house (20 minutes away) when I was 2.5... But I could see where I was going. It makes me slightly sad that she's missing that.

It's also getting more complicated with getting a ride from other people. My sister has 3 carseats and a booster in her van. But they are all FFing. So everytime it would be nice to go somewhere all together I have to decide whether or not to hold firm and take 2 cars (or not go if I don't have the car) or bend and let DD ride FFing. If I'm OK with it for short trips (which I am now) then why not all the time? My BFF has a DD about the same size as my DD. There have been times when it's nice for her to pick us up. But that seat's FFing as well.
As I said, I have let DD ride FFing in certain situations. She is almost 3, 30 lbs, etc. and I am fine with it. I know she is SAFER in our car riding RFing and that is where she is 90% of the time. The other 10% she is FFing in someone else's car and I am totally fine with it. She is still safe, but not the safest she can be.

Mom to Morgan 4-3-06 and announcing Baby Kelsey 4-11-10
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#30 of 47 Old 03-23-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Katzchen View Post
We will be turning my almost three year old around in April or May (his birthday is in April.) He is 28 lbs, 39 inches tall and has about an inch and a quarter of shell above his head. We'll be turning his Marathon bit early for the following reasons:

-It takes a lot of maneuvering to get him into the car with the seat rear facing and 9 time out of ten we bump something (usually his head ) on the way it or out no matter how careful we are.
-He is all leg and has literally run out of room rear facing. I know the internet experts that be think this is impossible, but he is seriously at the point where his knees/feet are jammed into the back of the seat once he is buckled in. We currently have him dangling his legs over the sides of the MA, but if the trip is more than 10 minutes or so he ends up crying and screaming that his legs are asleep.
-He has been complaining that his hips hurt whenever we put him in the seat.

We have been to two CPST (both of whom support ERF) now to see if changing the angle of the seat would give him more leg room and both suggested that we turn him forward facing since he is obviously uncomfortable and we really have a very limited time left to rear face anyways.
FWIW, I've found that the Britax convertibles have the LEAST amount of leg room rfing. Which is kind of ironic since they are the cream of the crop when it comes to car seats. But my ds has loads more room in his radian.

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