Rearfacing: Why arent YOU?

These are just some of many facts that illustrate the advantages of keeping your child rearfacing for as long as possible.  The AAP recently changed their recommendation to say that “Toddlers should remain rear-facing in a convertible car seat until they have reached the maximum height and weight recommended for the model, or at least the age of 2. “.  Yet even with this new recommendation from an organization that MANY people take so many of their parenting cues from, and seeing the stats like those listed above and more….they are still choosing to turn their children around at 1 year or even before.  What is it going to take?  The law changing for people to wake up?  Should we really be waiting for a LAW to be put in place to ensure that our kids are as safe as possible in a giant metal death trap?

Car accidents are the leading cause of death to children in the US.  Is anyone listening?  THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH TO CHILDREN IN THIS COUNTRY.  In Sweden where rearfacing to 4 is the norm…..child death, due to car accidents is unheard of.  In a 10 year span (I believe it was from 96-06) there were 6 child deaths due to car accidents….and all were catastrophic accidents where EVERYONE died.  That’s it….6.  Not thousands, not even hundreds…..6.

This is an image of a recent accident in Sweden.  That is the back of the car facing us. The car hit a bus head on after swerving into the oncoming lane of traffic.  Everyone except the rear-facing child in this car died.  If that isnt a powerful image I dont know what is.

Children’s spines do not even begin to ossify until between 4-6 years old and continue well into puberty.  What does that mean for car accidents? Basically the neck vertebrae of a young child is very delicate due to the whole neck area being underdeveloped.  When a baby is born, neck vertebrae is “composed of separate portions of bone joined by cartilage, in other words, the baby’s skeleton is still soft”. The cartilage turns into bone during the 4-6 years of a baby’s life.

Am I bit of a carseat nut?  Absolutely I am.  I’m that crazy lady who goes up to strangers and fixes the straps on their babies carseats so they are correct, and tells other parents not to put the carseat on the top of the cart while at the grocery store.  I’m that psycho whose 4 year old is still happily rearfacing and who’s 6 and 8 year old are both in 5 point harnesses and who messages old classmates because i saw a picture of their kid incorrectly strapped in to their carseat on Facebook.  I’m that insane nutjob sitting next to my husband screaming at the TV because Amber or Leah or really any of the Teen Moms are putting their children in serious harms way by their lack of proper carseat safety.  Hell I even went off on Caillou’s mom the other day for not having Rosie or Caillou in proper carseats or strapped in correctly.  I fully admit that I am a total carseat nutjob complete with 8 carseats to prove it.  I know that, and I’m ok with that.  If just 1 child is saved by my ranting and raving about how much safer rearfacing is….. it will have all been worth it.



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  1. Emily -  February 16, 2012 - 10:59 pm

    I am sending this to my best friend who lives in Italy and is already turning her 9 month olds seat forward. This is very compelling, I already planned on extended rear facing but now I have a concise summary for my friends who aren’t sold on it yet. Thank you.

  2. Kimi -  February 17, 2012 - 1:57 pm

    wow… I have never seen stats so compelling, I always planned to turn Jam at around 1 until I read this. I’d rather have to climb awkwardly in the back of my 2-door explorer than have him hurt… you should do an article with pics showing perfect car seat harnessing? I’d be interested 🙂

  3. Joy Platt -  February 17, 2012 - 2:50 pm

    For the most part this makes sence, but for me I had a car seat break out child. SHe learned how to unbuckle her seatbealt before she was 15 months. I had tried everything under the sun to keep her from doing that. Finaly I swiched her to foward facing, so I could always make sure she was buckled in. I am so greatful that my little boy has not figured out how to get out of his yet. But you are correct rear facing is better. 🙂

  4. Natalie -  February 29, 2012 - 1:40 am

    I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS POST. And I’m not afraid to use all caps to show it!

  5. Erika -  March 6, 2012 - 10:44 am

    I’m a Child Passenger Safety Tech and I love this post! I also yell at the TV.

  6. Samantha -  March 6, 2012 - 11:25 am

    I was so nervous the first time I mentioned someones car seat straps were too loose and the chest clip was at the belly. I don’t know if she fixed it but I felt better knowing that I said something.

    It drives me crazy when I see improperly strapped kids on Tv!

  7. Rose Cole -  March 6, 2012 - 1:35 pm

    Thank you! I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about this. This is the first article or post I’ve seen on this topic. I’ll be sure to pass it along. ~Rose Cole

  8. Katie -  June 21, 2012 - 12:59 pm

    I follow you on IG (Ryleemomma) & I must say I LOVE you & all you stand for! I am taking this picture (of the stats) & posting it on my FB for ALL the people who give excuses! Thank you!

  9. Janessa -  July 10, 2012 - 10:32 am

    gosh i love you! i’m so happy i’m more informed about this, and wish i knew all this with my first son. he is 3 1/2 and has been forward facing since he was 1 because of my lack of knowledge. i am however keeping him in a harness till he hits that weight limit, which is 85lbs i believe. thanks for all the great info.

  10. Leah -  July 18, 2012 - 1:04 pm

    LOVE this. DS just turned 2 a few weeks ago and number 2 boy is coming in 9ish weeks. They will both be RFing FOREVER lol. I am actually getting rid of my car within the next couple of weeks because i refuse to turn DS around to fit new DS RFing. they BOTH need it and i will not sacrifice, even though we are broke. Id rather be broke than have a dead child.

  11. mariah -  November 27, 2013 - 6:59 am

    I turned both of my kids before reading this. Now my oldest is 4 and my youngest is 2. If I get to have another baby I will deff keep them back wards. And as far as cauiou goes that show is super old

  12. shannon -  November 27, 2013 - 7:34 am

    My wife and kids were in a car accident a few weeks ago. My wife had some hip, back and neck problems from the impact. My twins however were still rear facing and had no problems at all. Didnt appear to be sore or anything after(the were 21 months old). We had already planned on rear facing until 2, but after the accident, we decided we will rear face until it becomes an issue.

  13. Kirsten -  November 27, 2013 - 8:56 am

    Alyssa you are by far my favorite CPST, I really loved meeting you at mommycon KC! And I message people when I see things on their FB and even leave The USAA information on peoples car when I see car seat misuse with my CPST email to hope they will reach out to have their seat checked!

  14. aksonflower -  November 27, 2013 - 11:42 am

    Great article thank you!!!

  15. Christina -  November 27, 2013 - 12:36 pm

    The answer to your question is because her legs don’t fit??? I am not sure how you are supposed to get a child to sit backwards when their legs don’t fit as they cram into the seat… They can’t even get in or out of the seat. I would also wonder is it better to have actual rear facing seats (not the car seat) then forward facing as some minivans have that option although it is quite rare.

  16. Cheryl -  November 27, 2013 - 4:47 pm

    Christina, legs bend. Children are far far more flexible than adults are. They will often find ways to sit comfortably rear-facing, even though it doesn’t look so comfortable for us. They have been known to sit crosslegged, to hang their legs over the sides of the seat, or stretch then up the back of the vehicle seat. There has never been a documented case of children’s legs breaking because they were rear-facing, but there have been cases of leg fractures in a forward-facing position. And many older children find that they were more comfortable rear-facing because their legs dangle and “fall asleep” when forward-facing

  17. Rachel -  November 29, 2013 - 3:43 am

    I’m not too sure why your first child was adopted out but you seem very righteous about everything else….do you base this on research or gut instinct? Baby led weaning is pretty hip right now… where are you coming from with this? Would just be good to hear your opinion and background on this….

  18. Victoria -  December 3, 2013 - 6:58 am

    Rachel, everything in this post is fact-based. It’s pure physics.

  19. Martin O'Donovan -  December 15, 2013 - 12:58 pm

    i will be looking at this asap, thanks for being that psyco, crazy woman who cares enough about my childs safety, to share some life saving information! and my little boy thanks you too…god bless x

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