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Do they HAVE to be one to be FF? Why?

New mom here... and I'm pretty naive to this whole car seat thing. Learning as I go. Now, I know each seat has different weight/height limits and such.... but does anyone know why they have to be one year old to turn it forward facing? Is it a muscle control thing? Just curious cuz my DS (it that term right? Lol) is 5 months old and 29 inches tall and 22 pounds. NOT that I would want him forward facing now... and I would never... I was just curious as to why they have to be a year old. Is it because that's when average kids reach the weight/height requirement? Or is there more to it?

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Asked by GavynsMa at 12:29 PM on Mar. 4, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 1 (2 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • It protects them in case of an accident. Otherwise its too easy for them to fly through the window.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:30 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • yes they have to be FF until one. not only is it the law buts safer to RF for as long as possible. why? because the muscles in the neck arent strong enough to support their head yet. so say you hit something and your son was FF its actually possible for him to suffer an internal decapitation (basically separating the brain and spinal cord) from the impact. Yes, this can also happen with older children but its more likely for younger children. Personally I'm RFing my son until he is 35lbs, he's 22 months and still RFing. There are some really good videos on youtube if your interested in watching them.

    Answer by Chandra034 at 12:33 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • Good question...i wonder that myself too! But i think it is a muscle thing and that they can control themselves better. My pedi says that they need to be 1 AND 20lbs, but that you still dont have to turn them at that point and her personal opinion she would wait til they cant sit with their feet back that way anymore. I think thats the other part is at 1 they normally are too long and their feet get crammed up and if you were in an accident they would break their ankles because they cant put their feet straight. I want my daughter to be turned so she can see out cuz she throws a FIT if she cant! but then again, i want things as safe as possible for her becuase i would die if anything ever happend to her! :)

    Answer by babymaddy at 12:36 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • Thank you Chandra! Yeah, I know they say do do it... and obviously for the safety of my son...will do so... I just wasn't sure WHY they made that a law.

    Makes TOTAL sense tho! :) Thank you!

    Answer by GavynsMa at 12:37 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • youre welcome =)

    Answer by Chandra034 at 12:39 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • It has to do with vertebrae in their spine fusing, this doesn't happen until they're 2 or three yrs old, if forward facing they can die of internal decapitation when their head snaps back and forth. Personally I'll leave my son back facing as long as possible (until his legs are too long to fit between the car seat and the back rest) New studies suggest leaving children back facing right up to 30-35 pounds, there's lots of information on line if you google it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:39 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • While it is strongly recommended kids stay rear facing until at LEAST one year and 20lbs, it is NOT a law everywhere. In some states, yes, but in all, NO it is not.

    I'm not saying to not keep a baby rear facing if the law doesn't say to. I'm just tired of reading people thinking it's the law everywhere because it's not. It is not a federal law, either.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:46 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • Yes... and they really should be OLDER.
    My son will be rear facing until he is 35 lbs he is 7 months now in his convertible seat.
    Do reseach on extended rear facing.... the laws really should be changed.
    And don't worry about if his legs are touching or cramped... they will find a comfortable way to sit... and there has never been a report of broken legs do to rear facing... and even if there were... it's better than a broken neck!
    They have some great car seat boards on Cafe mom... check them out!

    Answer by AmiJanell at 2:58 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

    join that group for more info.

    1 is a minimum. The impact of a crash causes way more damage to a FF child. RF keeps them shelled and their heads from flying forward causing their necks to break. Most convertible carseats can be used RFing up to 35lbs.

    Answer by jus1jess at 3:48 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • While it is not a law everywhere to keep them RF to 1 and 20, I believe every state has a proper usage clause, stating that the seat must be used according to the manufacturer's instructions, and there is no seat on the market that allows for FF before 1 and 20, so technically, it is the law.

    Answer by Krysta622 at 5:06 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

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