ERF'ing and scrunched legs - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 31 Old 10-11-2010, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is 3.5 and is currently RF'ing in a Complete Air. He is rather tall, and on longer rides, he complains that his back hurts and that his bottom falls asleep. He can't really be reclined any more, as he rides behind me. I can't put him in the middle because I have a FF'ing Scenera there for a friend's son who rides with us very regularly. Here is a pic of him recently. He rides with his legs like that every time, no matter what. He did ride with them crossed for a while, and he also used to ride with them hanging over the edges, but doesn't any more. I have talked to him about it and this is what he still chooses to do with his legs.

I really would like to keep him RF'ing longer, but he definitely starts to complain on longer rides. Would you turn him at this point?

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#2 of 31 Old 10-11-2010, 06:00 PM
 
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I would turn him around at this point. 3.5 is old enough to FF and he does look uncomfortable. I understand your hesitation though

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#3 of 31 Old 10-11-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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At 3.5 I have no qualms about turning him ffing if he prefers. If he doesn't like it you can flip him back.

I turned my ds2 at 3 because he was begging and begging and begging. And really, he was only a few pounds below the CAs limit anyways.

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#4 of 31 Old 10-11-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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Yeah I'd also feel okay turning him around. Awesome pants and socks, btw!

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#5 of 31 Old 10-11-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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How heavy is he? If you're not comfortable turning him now, could you move your friend's ff seat to an outboard position and move ds to the center?

I'd be okay turning him at this point, too, if he's truly uncomfortable.
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#6 of 31 Old 10-11-2010, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, I meant that my friend's seat is FF'ing behind the passenger seat and he is RF'ing behind me. Neither seat will fit in the center with the other beside it.

He weighs around 36 pounds right now, I think. I skipped his 3 year old well child visit because of an insurance snafu, so he hasn't been weighed except on my bathroom scale for a while. He definitely doesn't weight more than 38. I really wanted to get him to four years old RF'ing, but those legs are about as smushed as is possible.

I made the pants BTW! The socks are girls knee socks from Target.

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#7 of 31 Old 10-11-2010, 09:25 PM
 
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The only advantage switching the seats would have is that the passenger seat, since it doesn't have a passenger, could be slid farther forward than the seat you're sitting in. That'd give the option to recline more, if reclining more would help matters any.

Of course, as soon as you want to take a long trip with more than one adult, he's uncomfy again, so maybe you should just go ahead and get good at the FF install.
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#8 of 31 Old 10-11-2010, 09:39 PM
 
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DS1 just got turned FF a couple wks ago after he broke his leg and could not fit comfortably rfing anymore. He was born 3/07 too. I'm OK with it, though of course ideally he'd still be rfing. But at this point, I'm OK
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#9 of 31 Old 10-11-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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If he complains I'd probably turn him. My 3/07 baby is FF in dad's car and RF in mine.

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#10 of 31 Old 10-11-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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I would be OK turning him, if he was complaining and uncomfortable. You've done awesome getting him this far!

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#11 of 31 Old 10-12-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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When I saw this thread title I was thinking it was going to be a 1yo with feet touching the back seat! But a 3.5yo, 36lb kid? I would be ok with turning him personally.

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#12 of 31 Old 10-12-2010, 02:01 AM
 
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looking at how he's fitting, I would turn him. the way he's sitting the pressure of a crash would be on his lower back, not just his legs, because his legs can't bend any more without the hip and lower back being involved. He's also got a pretty good head size to neck strength ratio, so he would be okay to FF.

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#13 of 31 Old 10-12-2010, 12:14 PM
 
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wow, that looks really uncomfortable. yeah, i would turn. makes me have no worries about my 35lb rf seat limit on my current carseat.

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#14 of 31 Old 10-12-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post
looking at how he's fitting, I would turn him. the way he's sitting the pressure of a crash would be on his lower back, not just his legs, because his legs can't bend any more without the hip and lower back being involved. He's also got a pretty good head size to neck strength ratio, so he would be okay to FF.
There is simply no way to determine this. Kids' verebrae don't fully ossify until between 4 and 6, and while yes a 3 year old's spine is stronger than a 1 year old's spine, there's no way of knowing if it's adequate to withstand a major crash. And children are very, very flexible. There is absolutely zero concern of back injuries in a RF child in a crash

Here's a pic of how my 5yo sits in her RF seat (not buckled, obviously--she was just trying out the seat and she's too tall for the Radian RF. She rides in a RF Complete Air like the OP's son).

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#15 of 31 Old 10-12-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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yes, it may not be fully ossified, but his neck is strong enough to withstand much more than it would have at a younger age (I didn't say there was absolutely no risk, there's risk at any age) also, one of the reasons that crashes are so hard on young children's necks is because their head size is so large compared to the size of their neck and the strength of the supporting structures of the neck, it's not just about when the vertebrae are ossified. my point was that at this point, with the position he's sitting in, rear-facing is also putting his lower back and hips at risk, which are harder to fix then just the long bones of the legs. In this case, the safety issues just aren't as clear-cut as they are for a younger kid, or a kid who is able to sit in a position where their tailbone isn't being tucked under and knees all the way up against their chest.

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#16 of 31 Old 10-12-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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There is simply no way to determine this. Kids' verebrae don't fully ossify until between 4 and 6, and while yes a 3 year old's spine is stronger than a 1 year old's spine, there's no way of knowing if it's adequate to withstand a major crash. And children are very, very flexible. There is absolutely zero concern of back injuries in a RF child in a crash
There've been enough kids crammed in like the OP's son is who were involved in crashes to be sure that the lower spine won't be affected by the way his legs are positioned?

The data where no one has broken their legs RF is for kids who actually fit.

Your dd isn't nearly as crammed in as the OP's son. She fits. He doesn't.
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#17 of 31 Old 10-12-2010, 09:09 PM
 
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There have been NO reports of leg fractures in RF children. None. And I am sure at least one ERF child has been in a crash. I fail to see how my 5 yo is less crammed than the 3 yo in the OP. He certainly looks like he fits to me.

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#18 of 31 Old 10-12-2010, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I chatted witH DS about his legs today and how they felt squished up back there and he said he could move them. He splayed out his knees and put his feet together in front of him, and he fit a bit better. I think I am actually going to keep him RF'ing at this point for now and turn him if we go on a longer trip if he complains. I figure if he gets uncomfy, I can stop, flip him and be on our way. I have installed his seat FF'ing in friend's cars for short trips simply because it is MUCH easier to install FF'ing, so it shouldn't be too hard to flip on the go if we need to.
Thanks for all of the responses. I realize that him being RF'ing at his age and size are not the norm, but I truly believe that I am doing what is safest for him. I just wanted to get some opinions on how he looked with his feet and legs the way he was keeping them.

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#19 of 31 Old 10-12-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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his pelvis is rotated so he's sitting on his sacrum (your DD is sitting on her butt) which is pinching his sciatic nerve, which is why he's complaining on longer trips. sitting like that can also lead to hip and lower back problems if it's happening a lot long term

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#20 of 31 Old 10-13-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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his pelvis is rotated so he's sitting on his sacrum (your DD is sitting on her butt) which is pinching his sciatic nerve, which is why he's complaining on longer trips. sitting like that can also lead to hip and lower back problems if it's happening a lot long term
Do you have a source for that info? I can certainly see children complaining of being uncomfortable if they don't like ERF'ing (and plenty don't) but I don't think it will cause any lasting damage, either.

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#21 of 31 Old 10-13-2010, 01:24 AM
 
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There have been NO reports of leg fractures in RF children. None. And I am sure at least one ERF child has been in a crash. I fail to see how my 5 yo is less crammed than the 3 yo in the OP. He certainly looks like he fits to me.
Ask your dd to get in that car seat again and put her feet where the OP's ds has his. Then look at how her thighs are positioned in relation to her body. From what I'm seeing in the two pictures, her thighs will be father from her torso than his.

Now, if the OP were in a position to recline the seat more, like yours is, then he'd fit, like your dd does. Moving it over so it's behind an empty passenger seat is definitely a possibility, but wouldn't solve the issue of what happens when someone needs to sit in the front passenger seat.

And I submit again that ERF does not typically occur in children who are in pain from how they are sitting. Somewhat uncomfortable? Certainly. "Squished" even? Absolutely. "having trouble walking after getting out of the car because of leg cramps"? Not so much.
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#22 of 31 Old 10-13-2010, 01:26 AM
 
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So, I chatted witH DS about his legs today and how they felt squished up back there and he said he could move them. He splayed out his knees and put his feet together in front of him, and he fit a bit better.
That sounds more comfy and safer. *experiments with her own legs in her chair* and I suspect that that'll move pressure off his nerves. Might still end up uncomfortable over time, but shouldn't end up being horribly painful.

That also explains why some seats are designed with flared sides. He probably couldn't sit like that in a Scenera for instance.
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#23 of 31 Old 10-13-2010, 02:23 AM
 
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Do you have a source for that info? I can certainly see children complaining of being uncomfortable if they don't like ERF'ing (and plenty don't) but I don't think it will cause any lasting damage, either.
yes, I'm a short adult who ends up sitting on my sacrum a lot because chairs don't fit me, I have chronic hip and lower back problems because of it. I'm not saying that spending a few minutes a day in the car positioned like that would cause chronic problems, but over time it can cause problems because of the unnatural pressure on the joints at the back of the pelvis. not as likely to happen with a pre-schooler, who still has elastic joints, but still something I would try to avoid, especially if he spends a lot of time in the car.

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#24 of 31 Old 10-13-2010, 03:09 AM
 
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I'm hoping that someone could fill me in on why a child would **** be RF at that age? I've never heard of it before. What are the benefits and reasons? Just curious... Thanks!
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#25 of 31 Old 10-13-2010, 07:48 AM
 
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I'm hoping that someone could fill me in on why a child would **** be RF at that age? I've never heard of it before. What are the benefits and reasons? Just curious... Thanks!
Rear-facing is much, much safer than FF, because in a front-end collision (the most common and fastest collisions) the RF seat cradles the spine in an accident, while FF the harness holds the body while the head is flung forward. Also RF provides more side-impact (the most deadly form of accident) protection. Rear-impact collisions are the least common and are most often at low speeds.

The spine slowly ossifies (hardens) up until a child is 4-6 years old. After ossification, the spine is much more capable of sustaining that kind of impact. Which is why many of us try to keep our children RF until at least 4 years old if possible. My 2.5yo is RF still, and will remain so probably until she is 40lbs (she is 32lbs now) . There are seats out there that RF to 40-45lbs. Bent legs are not considered a safety concern, and most kids put their legs out to the side or prop them up on the seat back, or sit cross legged and are perfectly comfortable with the arrangement.

OP: If your DS is complaining about his legs hurting, have you tried reminding him that they wouldn't hurt so much if he put them in a different position (like dangled over the side or propped up on the seatback)? The position he's in DOES look uncomfortable, but he doesn't have to sit like that... If it's really uncomfortable and there's no way to move his legs elsewhere and there's no way to recline his seat more (like putting it behind the passenger seat...) then I'd consider turning him at that age. But I would try the alternatives first!

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#26 of 31 Old 10-13-2010, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ask your dd to get in that car seat again and put her feet where the OP's ds has his. Then look at how her thighs are positioned in relation to her body. From what I'm seeing in the two pictures, her thighs will be father from her torso than his.

Now, if the OP were in a position to recline the seat more, like yours is, then he'd fit, like your dd does. Moving it over so it's behind an empty passenger seat is definitely a possibility, but wouldn't solve the issue of what happens when someone needs to sit in the front passenger seat.

And I submit again that ERF does not typically occur in children who are in pain from how they are sitting. Somewhat uncomfortable? Certainly. "Squished" even? Absolutely. "having trouble walking after getting out of the car because of leg cramps"? Not so much.
Not sure who you were quoting in the above statement, but I never said he was having trouble walking after getting out of the car because of leg cramps. I said he was occasionally complaining on longer trips that his bottom fell asleep and that his back hurt. He has never had a hard time walking, and has never complained that his legs hurt or cramped up. 99.9% of the time, he does not complain about how he is feeling back there. I really was just looking to see what people thought about turning him either permanently or occasionally. I am pretty sure I have decided to turn him on longer trips to help him feel more comfy back there. I really would like to get him to at least 4 RF'ing for most of his car trips.

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#27 of 31 Old 10-13-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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Not sure who you were quoting in the above statement, but I never said he was having trouble walking after getting out of the car because of leg cramps. I said he was occasionally complaining on longer trips that his bottom fell asleep and that his back hurt. He has never had a hard time walking, and has never complained that his legs hurt or cramped up. 99.9% of the time, he does not complain about how he is feeling back there. I really was just looking to see what people thought about turning him either permanently or occasionally. I am pretty sure I have decided to turn him on longer trips to help him feel more comfy back there. I really would like to get him to at least 4 RF'ing for most of his car trips.
Wasn't quoting anyone. Was using the quotes to group sets of words.

An argument had been made that something never happens, I was questioning whether that had really been tested for all cases.
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#28 of 31 Old 10-13-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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An argument had been made that something never happens, I was questioning whether that had really been tested for all cases.
Right. Anecdotal evidence about an adult in a similar position does not equal evidence, and as we all know children are much more flexible and elastic.

I will have to quiz DD on her comfort when I pick her up from Kindy in a few minutes

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#29 of 31 Old 10-13-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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my 4 year old who rearfaces, sits criss cross apple sauce, but I haven't had an old enough boy to see if they would do that...good job in keeping him rf so long !

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#30 of 31 Old 10-14-2010, 05:47 AM
 
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The Swedes are the only ones rear facing kids to age 4 or longer and our experiences are great, both for comfort and safety. If older kids were uncomfortable RF we would have big problems;-)

Most believe RF benefits disappear at age two but this is not true. The safety benefits after age 2 are huge although they slowly decrease with age. This has a lot to do with the ossification of bones like above poster mentioned. The ossification of bones continue to puberty. At age 4-6 the bones are far stronger than at age 2 but still far from developed.

At children get older bones are stronger but the protection in side impact accidents is still poor for forward facing children regardless if it's with harness of high back booster. This is due to pre-impact breaking, which often occurs in these type of accidents, which often leave FF children's neck/head almost unprotected. RF children gets pushed further into the seat due to pre-impact breaking which provide excellent protection

We see the benefits of long rear facing time every day here. Fatalities and serious injuries for children in traffic aged 0-6 years are basically zero.

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