Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rear vs. Forward Facing

Posted by TEAM PARKER at 2:57 PM 0 comments Links to this post
In my time working for Graco, I did quite a bit of volunteer work with various car seat safety organizations as a certified car seat technician.  Yes, I had to complete a 40 hour course to get this certification, and I've had to renew it twice.  This last time I renewed, I no longer worked for the company, but it was just something I wanted to keep up with.  I have become quite passionate about car seat safety, especially since a majority of the time, parents are using them wrong. 

Of course, in the end, we do have laws, which don't even begin to cover the ins and outs of car seat safety, but it's the parents that make the decision of how long their kids ride in car seats and whether they are rear or forward facing.  With Reese celebrating her 1st birthday almost 2 months ago, it got me thinking that maybe it would be helpful for parents if I provided just a little bit of education on why it is so important to keep them rear facing longer than the 1 year AND 20 lb mark.

The American Academy of Pediatrics set the guideline of 1 year AND 20 lbs before you could move your baby to a forward facing seat in the car.  However, I hear they are looking to change that recommendation to 2 years old.  I know that seems absurd to a lot of you, but think about it...when our kids are riding rear facing in the car, the seat is actually doing the work on impact.  They are facing the rear, which keeps them cocooned and pretty much free of whiplash, whereas forward facing our bodies feel it all.  And considering their little bodies and spine are so small and delicate, they can only benefit from staying in their rear facing seat longer. 

I know a lot of it comes down to convenience, and I get that, but at the end of the day, it should be about safety, not convenience.  Heck, in Sweden, they keep their little ones rear facing until 3 or 4 years old.

Reese has definitely reached the 1 year AND 20 lb mark, but she's still rear facing, and will be for quite a while yet.  She doesn't know the difference, and I know we don't ever "plan" on being in a crash, but I know I'm doing what I can to keep her protected in the event that we are in a crash.

So, I will get off my soapbox now, but being educated about these things is a good thing....it can only help us make better decisions, right?

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