She Says… Goldilocks

Owen has never loved riding in the car. When he was tiny, I ached to be one of those people who could just pop their baby in the car to put them to sleep. Owen much preferred being worn or strolled, and since we lived a relatively pedestrian life, that’s was fine by me. In fact, it’s still my preferred mode of transportation. I hate driving; it makes me all stressed. Which is why we chose to move to an area that is technically the ‘burbs, but in reality has an adorable town center with everything we really need within walking distance from our house. We’ve attempted a few long car rides with Owen (we’ve done the 8 hour drive to Delaware a few times to see my family, and captured this long ride for a friend’s wedding on film), but all in all we try to keep it short. Like, really short.

I used to think that it was due to his reflux. Infant carseats are angled so that the baby is leaning way back, which is not so comfy for a kid whose stomach acid is coming back up his throat. I kept thinking that maybe when we switched to a convertible seat he would magically love riding in the car, since he’d be much more upright.

Now that he’s 1 and weighs over 20 pounds, there are so many options out there for the “next” seat for him. See?


I felt like Goldilocks picking one. This one is too small, this one’s weight limit is too low, this one is juuuuuust right.

We happily drove home and began to install the seat. The directions say “If your child is 20 pounds or over, install this seat forward facing”. Uhhh, what? For some reason I had it in my head that kids are supposed to stay rear facing for a LONG time. But this seat was telling me to install it forward facing, and not only that, but when you install it rear-facing, it has to be in the #3 recline position, which is at about the same angle as his infant seat. DAMN. This new seat doesn’t appear to solve anything. But maybe I’m wrong about when to switch to forward-facing?

Off to Google.

The AAP recommends that all infants should ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Safety Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.

So… rear-facing it is, at least for now. Right? But what about if front facing is the only way he doesn’t fuss when he’s riding in the car, thus making ME less likely to GET INTO an accident in the first place? Unfortunately I can’t seem to rationalize that one with myself, though I would much prefer to be able to drive a distance of longer than 5 minutes without whining.

Do you have your 1-2 year old front- or rear-facing? When did you switch to front-facing? Did it help your child become happier in the car? Any other tips (other than constant snacks) to entertain your child while driving?

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33 responses to “She Says… Goldilocks

  1. I switched Faith to forward facing at just before a year because we already had the Graco whatever forward facing car seat (baby shower gift) and she was too tall for the rear facing one. I could have gotten an transitional one, but she was screaming and fussing so much in the rear facing one that I rationalized that the slight (like 25%) increase in danger was worth it if she would just be quiet while I drove. I think driver distraction is WAY more dangerous than which way the kid is facing.

    She’s a much happier kid sitting straight up and down and now she looks out the window and hardly fusses at all (on short rides). She’s always been on the top of the scale for height and weight and the recommendations say “2 years or 20lb”. She passed 20lbs a LONG time ago. 🙂

    It really boils down to what you feel comfortable with doing. Bottom line? Driving is dangerous. You can’t make the kid 100% safe, but if he’s happier being able to see more (and quieter), then he’ll be safer if you’re less distracted. At least, that’s my theory. 🙂

  2. Ahh.. the debate. My son turned 11 months today and we switched him front facing. Car rides for us rear facing were HELL. Screams, cries, holding breath…we’d have to stop the car and check on him. 12 hour trips would take 17. We bought a safety first air convertible seat. I tried to install it rear-facing, but it was so difficult. I figure that I would just turn him soon enough so we went ahead and turned him front facing. He meets the weight suggestions…and always has had excellent head/neck control. I know there are professional suggestions, but it really comes down to what works best for ya’ll.:)

  3. This is such a huge debate. So many of our parent friends left their kids rear facing as long as possible (and some, WAY too long, I mean 3? I think that is actually getting dangerous). We flipped our son at 11 months. He weighed in at 27 lbs and his dr confirmed his neck was strong enough, and given his weight he agreed that flipping him around was ok. When our daughter turned one, she barely met that 20lb mark, so we left her rear facing until 15 months (the old reccomendation- law is still 12 months) and when we couldn’t handle the sreaming, gagging, chocking and moaning any longer, we flipped her. It has made a world of difference. It isn’t like she loves the car now, but she will actually fall asleep when she is tired and we can go for longer than 30 minutes in the car!

  4. Back in my day… (get off my lawn, etc etc), the recommendation was 1 year and 20 pounds. I switched my kids to forward-facing around 17-18 months, which was when my daughter finally hit 20 pounds. I think they liked it, though thankfully they were already pretty good in the car to begin with (or so says my memory of 3 years ago).

    Baby #3, however… totally not a fan of the carseat, and now she lives under the rear-face-until-2 doctrine. Crap. Maybe it’ll be better when we switch to a rear-facing convertible instead of the bucket seat? I ditched that one with my older kids at 7-8 months.

  5. wow–the second time in a row I’ve commented! I just read an article about this new recommendation by the AAP in Parenting Magazine. Up until recently the recommendation was to switch to forward facing at 1 year and 20 lbs, but it was widely known that rear facing was the safest and was encouraged that you keep your baby rear facing for as long as possible. I switched both of our kids to forward facing at around 15 months as the convertible car seat we switched to when they turned one worked quite well rear facing (a Britax Roundabout). What seat did you end up purchasing? If it is still too reclined is it too late to return it for one that isn’t so that you can keep Owen rear facing? As the first commenter said, the reality is, cars are dangerous and rear facing is the safest for any child, but that’s not always practical. But if you find a car seat where he’s comfortable rear facing and could find some good distractions such as toys/snacks etc. it might be worth trying to keep him that way for as long as you can stand it? Once my kids were old enough to hold and play with toys and eat snacks it was the best way to keep them entertained in the car. That and music. Good luck Kate!

  6. I am an advocate for the rear facing as long as possible. We didn’t keep our son rear facing for as long as I would have liked (15 months) but we will keep him (3 years old, over 40″ tall and 45+ lbs) in a five point harness and will until he out grows the height and weight (65lbs). Our next child will be rear facing for as long as their car seat will allow. The risk just wasn’t worth it to us.

  7. My son is 10 months now. We just ordered a convertible seat for him as he’s pretty much outgrown the height limit on his infant seat. We plan to rear-face for quite some time. However, only time will tell how well he does in his new seat.

  8. I have to say that I, too, advocate for rear facing for as long as you can! (I watched too many YouTube videos on the forward facing dangers.) That being said, you’re his mommy, I’m not! My 21-month old will turn in the next week or so just because his legs are too long. I do have to say, though, that if he’d been 27 lbs at a year like the above poster (he was only 22), I would’ve flipped him sooner. But if you carseat says you need him to be forward facing at a certain weight, follow those guidelines!

  9. *** We DID outgrow the infant seat at 9 months and purchased a Britax convertible in order to keep him rear facing for so long. ***

  10. My daughter rear faced until she was 35 pounds and 3 years old

  11. I’ve left both our daughters rear facing longer than a year. Not too much (about 16 months and 15 months) but still extra past the 12 months. I plan on keeping Seth rear facing much closer to his 2 year birthday. It does make me cringe, though, to hear of parents turning their kids before 1. I really don’t care much about height and weights and what not, it is about the way their neck has developed and strengthened. If you need to switch seats, fine, but at LEAST keep them rear facing until they are one. Just google any of the videos done to show what happens to a childs neck if they haven’t fully “fused” together yet – it’s extremely scary. I’ve been blessed to never have had a baby that’s super fussy in the car, but I know that most children ARE happier forward facing. But for me, having more months of safety is worth the extra whines or inconvenience.
    It’s a heated subject, no doubt. Good luck with your decision.

  12. ,My super fussy daughter was switched at 11 mo and she has been a great car rider ever since. I honestly think she got carsick as the only way to calm her a bit was to roll down her window. Her brother stayed rear facing to 14 months and now her little sister is still rear facing at 14 months because she is still not 20 lbs. Make the decision that is best for your family.

  13. I just had my 9-month appointment with my pediatrician, and she echoed the same thought as many of the other commenters. She said the guidelines are 2 years now, but for some children (especially tall ones, as mine is), that isn’t practical. She said I should try for 15 – 18 months.

    Which type of carseat did you get? I’m just starting to research convertible carseats now, and since I’m sure you did a lot of research, I’d love to hear which one you picked and why…

  14. Logan is already over 18 pounds at 4 months, so I have no idea what we’ll do when we move him out of an infant seat. But ideally I want him to stay rear facing for as long as possible (until 3 or 4 years). When you are just considering the car seat position, it is definitely the safest to be rear facing.

    I have a friend who sent me some information on it, as she had done all the research. I believe she got her information from carseat.org
    This is what she sent me: “Keep them rear facing AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Used to be til age 1 and 20 lbs, but the AAP has recommended for 10+ years to RF to the limits of the child restraint. Pediatricians are just now starting to come up to speed on that and there have been articles released about studies showing RFing to be 5 times safer up to age 2–but that’s only because age 2 is what they studied to. The spinal column can stretch something like 2.5 inches but the spinal CORD only stretches 1/4 ” before it snaps, resulting in internal decapitation. The bones begin fusing around age 3 and are completed by age 6, so the risk goes down as the child ages. There are now numerous convertible seats on the market that will rear face average sized children to age 3 and beyond. Legs are not an issue, they find someplace to put them, and it’s more comfortable rear facing (like in a recliner chair) than forward facing with legs dangling down. Some people are afraid legs will break in an accident–better a broken leg than broken neck. Broken leg? Cast it. Broken neck? Casket. 🙂 AND data shows leg injuries to be more common in forward facing children anyway because their legs fly forward and hit the seat in front of them. I don’t even worry about the legs because I use seats that can be tethered rear facing, or have rebound control of some other type. My oldest is 4y4m old and just turned forward facing a couple weeks ago. He still fits RF by height and weight, but at this age I’m okay with turning him and he was requesting it (although it turns out he just wanted to see the clock up front!). The rest of my kids are still rear facing.”

    It’s got to be difficult to have a child who doesn’t like to ride in the car or be in a carseat. Logan tolerates it fairly well unless he’s over tired or hungry. If he gets overtired, sometimes I’ll pull over to calm him down so he’ll fall asleep, but it doesn’t always work and sometimes he just has to fuss or cry until he falls asleep, at least during our long rides. I’ll stop to feed him if I have to, or my husband will feed him a bottle while I’m driving (or vice versa).

    Ultimately you have to do what works for you. If Owen won’t tolerate rear facing and it is impacting your ability to drive safely, then it might be better to turn him around. Is there anything that works to distract him while he’s in the car? Extra snacks or a portable DVD player might not be something you want to do, but if it keeps him calm rear facing, then it might be worth it for the added safety of keeping him rear facing. Especially if he’s not in the car all that often since you walk most places.

  15. My oldest we changed at 1 year (20 lbs 1 oz)–the recommendation at the time. The second we waited until 18 months because she didn’t weigh enough until she was that old. The newest little fellow is still rear facing at 21 months…we’ll turn him at two. So each of them have stayed longer than the previous… Best wishes in making the best decision!

  16. Our daughter is 10.5 months, and we bought a Britax Marathon 70, which she has been using since she was 9 months old. We will keep her rear-facing until at least 2 years of age. Honestly, I think it is crazy to turn them around prior to age 2, and am surprised that the law has not been changed to reflect the AAP recommendations.

    The difference in risk associated with forward-facing vs. rear is not “slight.” In fact, studies have shown that children are FIVE TIMES safer riding rear-facing than forward facing. And honestly, go check out the YouTube videos showing the difference in impact between forward-facing and rear-facing. It is TERRIFYING.

    And, the idea that taller babies must be turned around because there is not enough room for their long legs is–to put it simply–complete crap.

    Check out this link (it is just one of many in support of extended rear-facing): http://www.newparent.com/parenting-101-featured/top-5-myths-rearfacing/

    I don’t mean to offend, but this is an issue that gets under my skin. I just cannot understand why people would choose to turn their child around early for convenience or because they perceive that the child will be “happier.” It’s like justifying not making your child wear a seatbelt because it is uncomfortable. Or not putting sunscreen on him/her because it makes him cry. As parents, we make plenty of decisions that are not necessarily agreeable to our children–but we do it because it’s what is best for them.

    There is so much misinformation out there, and people who defiantly say, “Well, my [older] kid was turned around at 1, and he’s fine” or “When I was a kid, car seats weren’t even required, and I lived to tell about it!” That may be true, but more studies are done and we learn more, guidelines change all of the time–why wouldn’t we follow them?

    Do check the “limit” of rear-facing on the car seat you bought. Some of them can only rear-face up to a certain weight–sounds like you may have bought one of those? If you can, I would recommend returning it and getting a seat that is compatible with extended rear-facing. The Britax Marathon we have allows our daughter to sit up straighter than the infant seat, even though she’s rear facing. I hope Owen will get used to his car seat soon!

  17. As far as the fussing in the car goes, we bought a small dvd player for our son when we switched him to forward facing. It straps onto the seat in front of him and has been a LIFESAVER!!! we got it for about 120.00 bucks.

  18. We just switched our boy to front facing–he’s 14.5 months old, and everyone is happier, and we’re all safe! Our car is safe (and yours is too), and, it doesn’t sound like you drive a ton, due to your awesome neighborhood. Obviously, it’s up to your own judgement, but as you can see from the comments here, it sounds like most mamas feel it’s safe to turn their precious little bubbas around forward facing before we send them off to college. 😉

    Best of luck to you and your cute lil Owen!

    Lauren

  19. Eli is still rear-facing at 14 months and will be as long as he is okay with it (probably when he’s 2 or so). At a huge shock to me, our pediatrician told us we could turn him at 12 months and I said, no, I think I’ll leave him backwards until he isn’t comfy anymore. She gave me a weird look. Whatevs.

    Eli HATED the carseat as an infant, so we actually bought him a Graco MyRide 65 convertible seat when he was about 5 months old. Best. Decision. Ever. He didn’t become an angel in the car or anything, but he didn’t completely freak out like before. He’s now a super happy camper in the car. I love our carseat… it is fairly inexpensive compared to other convertibles ($150), it goes from 5-65 pounds and it has cupholders! It doesn’t recline nearly as much as the infant seat, either.

    Best of luck with the carseat situation!

  20. my son is still rear facing and will be until 2 or longer. that being said, we endure HYSTERICAL SCREAMING on almost every car ride to the point that we keep enough earplugs in the car for every person and we’ve only left the state of ohio once with him. and it was the biggest mistake of my life to date. i hate feeling so trapped here but it just isnt worth it to take him over an hour away; my sanity cannot take it.

  21. I’ve been looking at convertible seats for my daughter and if you purchased the one that Owen is sitting in, in your picture, it can rear face to 40 lbs. That is the one I’m considering buying because the reviews and saftey are just as good as Britax without the price tag. My daughter does well in her car seat so I’ll keep her rear facing as long as possible but I can understand parents who have to deal with babies who don’t like it. My nephew would get car sick and HATED car rides so he was turned at 11 months and it made all the difference. You might try to see if the convertible seat makes it better for him to ride backwards – if he’s better with the new seat, then you’ve bought some time rear-facing. Also, in my comparison shopping, the Britax seems to sit up more even rear-facing compared to others so if you’re looking for a way to make Owen more upright, that may help some. Good luck!

  22. We’ll probably keep Ryan rear facing as long as possible. He’s 10 months old now and has been in a convertible car seat since he was maybe 5 months old – he’s a big guy and I couldn’t carry him in the infant seat anymore. 😉 But he’s always loved the car. If he was unhappy in rear facing and was over a year old, I would probably move him to forward facing. There is something to be said for sanity. Plus, until very recently, the advice was to keep them rear facing only until a year. They just changed that recommendation like 3 months ago. So although two years is best, I don’t think that turning him around now would be too bad.

  23. Elle was in the infant seat until about 9.5 months old, and now we have the convertible seat. She’s rear-facing, and I hope to keep her that way for at least another year (she turned one yesterday – eek!). Elle is usually pretty happy in her carseat and will sleep if it’s anywhere close to nap time, but sometimes she just, well, isn’t happy. If I’m by myself, I sing to her and that helps temporarily. If my husband is driving, I just crawl in the back with her and she’s fine. To me, her safety trumps my sanity, but again, I acknowledge that she’s usually pretty good in the car.

  24. check out this message board – there are some GREAT advice there & some of the women there are also car seat techs too! They can be of some really great advice there! http://www.constantchatter.com
    We ultimately decided to FF our son when he was around 15 1/2 mos. old, due to his size & weight. We used the Graco Snugride up until he was at LEAST 1yrs. & hit the 20lbs. MAX limit and then switched to RF in our Britax Marathon & then FF him @ 15 1/2 mos. He’s now 3 yrs. & is now using the highest shoulder slot. Good luck making the choice!

    Car seat threads can be viewed here:
    http://www.constantchatter.com/forum/showthread.php?46870-The-Car-Seat-Thread-Vol-VI – (0-12mos. thread)

    AND

    here: http://www.constantchatter.com/forum/showthread.php?36868-Master-Car-Seat-Booster-Seat-thread-for-older-kids (12-36 mos. thread)

    When is it time for a new car seat?
    (This is a general list – rules for your seat may be different. Always read your owner’s manual!)
    Your child is too big for the infant carrier when a) they reach the weight limit or b) the top of his/her head is within 1 inch of the top of the car seat.
    Your child is too big to rear-face (RF) in their convertible seat when a) they reach the RF weight limit, or b) the top of their head reaches the top of the seat.
    Your child is too big for the convertible seat (forward facing) when a) they reach the weight limit or b) the tops of his/her ears reach the top of the seat or c) his/her shoulders are at the level of the highest strap slots

    —————————————————————–
    Links:
    Car seat inspections
    Car Seat Inspection Stations – click on “Find a technician”
    Get your seat inspected!!!! 90% of car seats are incorrectly installed! An incorrectly installed seat is not safe! Even if you think you did it right, GET IT INSPECTED!!!

    The Basics
    Of Rear Facing Seats
    Of Forward Facing Seats
    Of Booster Seats

    Extended Rear Facing Links
    Rear Facing – Unmatched Safety (lots of links at the bottom of this page)
    Why Rear Facing is Safest
    Why Babies MUST Ride Rear Facing
    Rear Facing Photo Album
    Kyle David Miller Foundation – Rear Facing Is Safest

    What to Buy
    Infant Seats
    Convertible Seats
    Combo Seats

    Child Restraint Laws by State

    Safe Kids Campaign

    NHSTA Links
    Child Passenger Safety
    More Inspection Stations
    Ease of Use Ratings

    AAP Car Safety Seat Guide
    Car Seat Manufacturers

    Britax
    Graco
    Cosco
    Combi
    Evenflo Infant Seats
    Evenflo Convertible Seats
    Evenflo Booster Seats
    BabyTrend
    Safeguard
    Sunshine Kids
    Fisher Price

    For other information on any of these seats, try the Baby Bargains Message Board. There are real car seat experts there (including CPS techs!) that may be able to give you the information you need about a specific seat if no one here can help.

    Booster Seat Information

    Boosters, Belts and Big Kids
    Boosters are for Big Kids
    5 Step Test
    Booster Seats
    Car Seat Compatibilty Database

    Car Seat Info for Canada

    Options for a 5 Point Harness past 40 lbs
    Kyle David Miller Foundation – Why a 5 point harness is safest

    Britax Marathon
    Britax Regent
    Britax Decathlon
    Britax Boulevard

    Cosco Apex 65

    SafeGuard Child Seat

    Sunshine Kids Radian

    Fisher Price Safe Voyage (to 55 lbs) (made by Britax for FP)

    Recaro Como
    Recaro Signo

    Evenflo Triumph Advance
    Evenflo Titan Elite

    Graco Nautilus – Harness to 65 lbs, booster to 100

    Compass True Fit (not yet available)

    Children in Harnessed Seats Past 40 lbs Photo Album

    Highest Slot heights for various car seats:
    Roundabout – 15.5″
    Safeguard Seat – 19.5″
    Triumph Advance – 17″
    Radian (65 or 80) – 18″ (manufacturer allows continued use with the shoulders up to 1″ over the top slots)
    Marathon – 17.5 inches
    Apex65 – 17 inches
    Graco Nautilus – 18 inches
    Regent – 20 inches

    If you are about to purchase a car seat and would like to assist a good cause at the same time, please consider purchasing from http://www.hipmonkey.com. This website is the sister site to the Kyle David Miller Foundation (http://www.kyledavidmiller.org) who donate car seats to families in need. Besides car seats by Britax, Sunshine Kids, Recaro and SafeSeat, the site also has other child care items – e.g. slings, diaper bags, nursing covers etc. ALL profits from the sale of ALL items go directly to the foundation.

    The links above have this information, but I thought I’d post some snippets about extended rear facing. Your baby MUST rear face until they are 20 lbs AND 1 year old. However, most convertible seats let you RF until 30 lbs or more. Rear Facing is the SAFEST position for your child.

    Rear-facing is the safest position the child can ride in. It is recommended that all children stay rear-facing beyond the minimal requirements of 1 year and 20 lbs, and not be turned forward-facing before they reach the maximum rear-facing limits of a convertible seat – either the maximum rear-facing weight limit or when the top of their head is within one inch of the top of the seat shell. While most parents are aware that they must keep their children rear-facing “until they are AT LEAST 1 year old AND 20 lbs”, very few are told that there are significant safety benefits when a child remains rear-facing as long as the seat allows. For most children, rear-facing can and should continue well into the second year of life.
    In a forward-facing seat, there is tremendous stress put on the child’s neck, which must hold the large head back. The mass of the head of a small child is about 25% of the body mass whereas the mass of the adult head is only 6%! A small child’s neck sustains massive amounts of force in a crash. The body is held back by the straps while the head is thrown forward – stressing, stretching or even breaking the spinal cord. The child’s head is at greater risk in a forward-facing seat as well. In a crash, the head is thrown outside the confines of the seat and can make dangerous contact with other occupants, vehicle structures, and even intruding objects, like trees or other vehicles.

    Rear-facing seats do a phenomenal job of protecting children because there is little or no force applied to the vulnerable areas. In a rear-facing seat, the head, neck and spine are all kept fully aligned and the child is allowed to “ride down” the crash while the back of the child restraint absorbs the bulk of the crash force. The head is contained within the restraint, and the child is much less likely to come into contact with anything that might cause head injury.
    Many parents have the misconception that children are uncomfortable or at risk for leg injury by having their legs up on the vehicle seat or bent when kept rear-facing. These concepts are completely incorrect. First, children are more flexible than adults so what we perceive as uncomfortable is not so much so for the children. Second, there is not a single documented case of children’s legs, hips, etc. breaking in a crash due to longer rear-facing. Even if a leg were broken, it can easily be fixed. A damaged spinal cord (from forward-facing too soon) cannot be repaired and subjects the child to lifelong disability or death.

    Any expert will tell you that rear-facing is DEFINITELY safer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that rear-facing seats are 71% safer than nothing and FF seats are 54% safer than nothing. Other experts say that “Crash studies have shown that, in a front-end collision, injury rate is reduced by 30 to 60% if a passenger is rear facing rather than front facing.”
    Many parents think turning the car seat to forward facing is a rite of passage for children when they turn one. Please, don’t be in any rush to turn your child! Unless you have a significant reason to turn your child, keep them rear facing as long as you can. It’s so much safer! (ok, done with my PSA!) -quoted from constantchatter

    Some photo examples of really extended rear facing. Note how bent their legs are. Bent legs are not a safety concern
    http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/RFAlbum/RyanElite.aspx
    http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/RFAlbum/Kendra.aspx
    http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/RFAlbum/Jenna.aspx
    http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/RFAlbum/JanaeRA.aspx
    http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/RFAlbum/chloeMA.aspx

  25. The law here in Australia is that they must be rear-facing until 6 months of age, but I think that we have some of the laxest laws about child restraints in the developed world. They are much safer in northern europe where kids are rear facing until 4 or even 5 years old.
    Personally I wanted to keep Will rear-facing until he was at least 1, but the car seats we have available here really don’t accomodate that. Will has looong legs (my husband is 6 foot 7 inches) and he’s already looking pretty cramped so we might have to sit him forwards sooner rather than later.

  26. Maybe Owen is just scared because he can’t see you guys? How about taping up one of those plastic mirrors to the back seat so that he can be reassured? I’m not sure what the most secure way of attaching it would be, but a flat piece of plastic can only do so much damage. This is like the DVD player idea, only real-life.

  27. *sigh* I think this is a bit of a personal issue, so I just skimmed the comments…
    The recommendations are different in Australia, as mentioned – our car seat was legally able to be front-facing from 9kg. It’s actually very difficult to find car seats here that accommodate extended rearward positioning.
    But that didn’t end up being an issue, because we had to turn our son around at 11 months. Had to. We were all going crazy in the car, especially since we had to go on frequent 6 hour drives, and usually it was just me and Devin, so I had no help. His screaming was extremely distracting and, in my opinion, much more of a danger and a risk than having him facing forward. He was also really car sick, to the point of vomiting, which he never did under normal circumstances.
    And, it gets REALLY hot in Australia in summer, and the sun is much harsher than in other countries – to have him facing out the back window (for which no company makes an effective shade) with no air conditioning vents seemed absurd and cruel. I did the best I could to keep him cool and calm, but it was just horrendous to know that we couldn’t go anywhere without our 4 month old baby being roasted by the sun. Children in Northern Europe can face out for so long because it’s not blazing hot there.

    After I turned the seat around, driving was much better, and I FELT better. I didn’t need to keep him occupied by anything, because he was just so happy to be able to see everything.
    I’d seen videos, yep, and front-facing is a bigger risk, yes. But driving is a risk in itself, and I thought if I was to continue keeping him rear-facing, I might as well just stop driving anywhere, because we’d reached a breaking point.
    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for this to turn into an essay – I just wanted to illustrate the contributing factors in my personal decision! I think if you’re able to keep rear-facing, go for it. Do it for as long as it works. That said, I don’t think turning kids around at 12 months is worthy of the horrified reaction that it seems to get now. Do what you feel is the right thing.

  28. I’m a very strong advocate of rear facing as long as possible. My mom had a coworker that died in a car accident along with her 2 children. They would have survived if they had been rear-facing, but she turned one around early because her brother enjoyed facing forward and they fussed. I’d rather my hold have a broken leg from an accident than a broken neck. She will be rear facing until we can’t do it safely anymore.

  29. I will leave my son rearfacing, although it is a giant pain it IS safer. He is almost 11 months and 25 lbs. My main concern, like Liss, is how it is here in TX. Today the high is 111 degrees. I have shades on the back windows, but it is still extremely hot in the car. He gets no air blowing on him from the a/c. I felt bad this past weekend, bc we went to the grocery store. When I got him out of the car his hair was all sweaty and hot and his entire back was drenched in sweat. I even try to cool the car off ahead of time, but there is only so cool it can get when it is over 100 degrees.

  30. Late to the game here, but I also have a strong opinion on this…
    I feel like we are trying to put our kids in a bubble these days. Vaccines at birth for sexually transmitted diseases? Rear facing in the car till they are 10? Anti-bacterial everything? You know what is safer than rear facing in the car – not driving in a car. Ever. Or going to daycare, because there are germs there. Heck, the Dr.’s office is full of germs, why go there? Or to the mall, or the park…Sure, rear facing is safer. But most of us grew up without much in the way of carseats. We can’t keep our kids safe from everything! I kept both of my guys rear facing till 1, but endured bloody murder screaming and switched them as soon as they hit 20 lbs. Yes, they would be safer backwards, but I guarantee that I am a much more distracted driver with a child screaming bloody murder, so we weighed our options and made the turn. But I also let my boys sleep on their tummies (*gasp*) and drink out of the hose…

  31. For me, it’s not about whether I’m distracted by my child’s screams. Of course I am. It’s about the other idiots on the road. If screaming is a part of being in the car, you deal with it. Nothing is worth the danger of turning a child forward-facing before their body can handle it.

    And if you think it’s comparable to drinking out of a hose, you’re really undermining your own argument.

  32. My daughter is almost 3 and rear facing, and my son is 13 months and rear facing. I want to keep them as safe as possible. And no, I am not overprotective. Luckily they are fine riding rear facing. It’s all they’ve known.

    I second the DVD player idea so you can keep Owen rear facing longer.

  33. Wow, who knew this was such a touchy subject. My daughter is 22 months and we just switched her to foward facing.

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