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When is it safe to turn baby to forward facing: one year, two years, three years?

Posted by on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:24 PM
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Here are two great videos about forward facing versus rear facing. Neither one is bloody or gory in any way! : ) The safest option is to rear-face as long as your car seat will allow! : ) 



by on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:24 PM
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Pandapanda
by on Feb. 15, 2013 at 11:38 PM
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Both of mine are forward facing- for another week or two. They're just over the RF weight limits and my son's head is higher than the shell of his seat. As soon as our taxes come in, we're buying three seats that rear face to at least 40lbs. 

blessed5312
by on Feb. 16, 2013 at 8:16 AM
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we go as long as seats will let us.  My oldest (now 5 and harnessed still) had to flip in his radian at 3 because he outgrew the height.  My 2 1/2 year old is still rear-facing in it.  The new baby will have a size4me (have the seat already awaiting the baby in May) which has an even taller shell so hopefully he'll last longer rear-facing.

only2nknown
by on Feb. 17, 2013 at 10:46 AM
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We're RFing as long as we can. Our DD will be two in a couple of weeks and we have no intention of FFing till we absolutely have to.

TTC2Long
by on Feb. 17, 2013 at 10:50 AM
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We will rf to 4 or the max rf weight limit. We're petite people with petite babies, so I doubt very much my boys will mac out the height or weight before hitting 4. :)
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Precious333
by on Feb. 17, 2013 at 10:57 AM
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Emilytrademark
by on Feb. 17, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Well we FF our DD (almost 2 but not quite) because she is a giant, the size of a 3-4 year old, and her little legs would be stuck awkwardly and uncomfortably far up the back seat :-/ I don't know any other way around that

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mama2gg
by on Feb. 17, 2013 at 11:06 AM
I ff my ds that's over 5 he has been for a year
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louzannalady
by Group Owner on Feb. 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM
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My oldest has very, very long legs. Always has! Lol! That is why we call him "froggy", he has long Kermit legs! : ) Anyway, I have taught him to sit criss-cross applesauce or "Indian style" or however you want to put that. : ) And he's just fine. : ) 

Quoting Emilytrademark:

Well we FF our DD (almost 2 but not quite) because she is a giant, the size of a 3-4 year old, and her little legs would be stuck awkwardly and uncomfortably far up the back seat :-/ I don't know any other way around that


MaryJarrett
by on Feb. 18, 2013 at 7:44 PM
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We allow our kids to outgrow their RF convertibles before FF. We have Radians, and fairly average sized kids, so that's over 4 yrs old. Serenity reached hers at 4 yrs,2 months.

Personally, I would NOT forward face a child under 3 years old because that's the earliest the bones start fusing. If I had to buy the $500 Foonf to do so or import a seat from Sweden, I was and am fully prepared to do so. Weight doesn't affect bone strength this young, length doesn't affect bone strength this young, only time can make them stronger. The bone don't finish fusing until 6 years old so every day closer to that is safer for my children. 

MaryJarrett
by on Feb. 18, 2013 at 7:48 PM

Here's the ERF post from the Car Seat Safety Group: 

Car crashes are the #2 killer of children under 1 year of age.  Car crashes are the #1 killer of children 1-14.

The absolute bare minimum is 1 year AND 20lbs. What is best practice? To keep your child rear facing for as long as possible. The AAP recommends keeping your child rfing until 2 and/or until they reach the weight limits of your seat which is 33-45lbs.  http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/carseat2011.htm

Another thing, MOST states have LAWS in place that say your child HAS to be in a rear facing child restraint until 1 year AND 20lbs.  So ANY dr telling you that it is okay to FF them before 1 year is WRONG.

Why is 20lbs the "magic number"?  Because, when the laws were created, car seats only went to 20lbs RFing!!  We have car seats now that go up to 45lbs RFing.  We've come a LONG way!!!

I am a Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructor and I all too often see the horrific aftermaths of children who were forward facing and were involved in a car accident. Most recently, we reviewed a case study of a 26 month old, 26lbs child who was in the middle of the backseat, ffing, in a 5 pt harness seat. A car came into their lane and they were in a head on collision at 45mph. This little girl suffered a broken C2 vertebrae. She was the LUCKIEST child. She was in a HALO for 3 months. She had to into temporary state custody b/c the mother couldn't care for her (due to the mother being in the hospital). Evidence shows that if she were still rear facing, she would not have sustained this life threatening injury.

I have had a broken neck before, my C1 and C2 vertebrae's were broken. This area controls breathing, movements, etc...Christopher Reeve is a prime example of having a broken C1 and C2 vertebra in his neck. It is NOT a nice injury and I would never wish that upon anyone...especially a child. It breaks my heart when I hear of parents ffing their child too soon. Because of this kind of mind set that it is a "milestone" to ff your child at 1 year AND 20lbs, many MANY children are needlessly injured.

When a child is in a frontal, head on 35mph crash and their car seat is NOT tethered and they are using a 5 point harness, they will go forward 32". When their seat is tethered, a child will be thrown forward 28". It is imperative that families recognize the NEED to keep their children rear facing for as long as possible.

Here are several links to support keeping your child rear facing for as long as possible.

http://www.joelsjourney.org/

http://www.anec.eu/attachments/ANEC-R&T-2008-TRAF-003.pdf
http://www.carseat.org/Resources/633.pdf
http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/stayrearfacing.aspx
http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html
http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/RFAlbum.aspx
http://www.thecarseatlady.com/car_seats/re...cing_seats.html
http://myangelsaliandpeanut.tripod.com/id5.html
http://momtoaliandshae.tripod.com/keepingkidssafeinthecar/
http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm
http://www.aap.org/family/1to2yrs.htm
http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/travelsafetytips.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRP7ynNI8mI
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9916868
http://www.carseatsite.com/rear-face_article.htm

Here's an article reinforcing WHY Rear facing is BEST
http://www.stuff.co.nz/4144421a10.html

Here are a few crash test links to show you the difference in rear facing vs forward facing:

http://www.oeamtc.at/netautor/html_seiten/...icosipriori.mpg
http://youtube.com/watch?v=rsqE-uOtMM4&mode=related&search=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K62Ea8Fs4ng...related&search=

Here is a crash test of a 12 month old RFing
http://s101.photobucket.com/albums/m76/Mrsmccarty/?action=view&current=video06A_MGA_213_RearFace-Convertib.mp4


Then, here is the SAME 12 month old FFing
http://s101.photobucket.com/albums/m76/Mrsmccarty/?action=view&current=video06B_MGA_213_ForwardFace-Conver.mp4

For those who say their children were uncomfortable rfing, your child knows nothing different. In fact, their legs bending the way they do RFing is actually comfortable to a child. It may not be for an adult. A child is usually more uncomfortable with their legs dangling over the edge or close to the edge of the seat than they are all "squished" up. ALL children go through the kicking, screaming, yelling phase b/c they are active, crawling, walking, etc and would much rather be doing that than harnessed in their seat. They also WANT to see mom or dad in the car. They can hear you, but can't "see" you. They are all phases and they will pass. A child is TOO tall rfing when their head is 1" below the top of the SHELL of the seat.  What is the most common injury to a child when their seats is installed correctly when RFing?  Bruising.  What is the #1 and #2 most common injury to a child when they are FFing?  Head/spine injuries and BROKEN LEGS!!!!!.  There are NO documented cases of a child's legs being broken in crashes, but there are TONS of documented cases of children with spinal injuries. 

 

42% of accidents occur in rural settings. 25% of them occur within 5 minutes of your home.

Autopsy reports have shown that children under 2 years old are at 4 times the risk of Internal Decapitation when forward facing. What is Internal Decapitation?? 

Wikipedia says this:
Internal decapitation, atlantooccipital dislocation, describes the rare process by which the skull separates from the spinal column during severe head injury. This injury is nearly always fatal, since it usually involves nerve damage or severance of the spinal cord. Hanging relies on allowing the subject to break their neck under their own weight.


Here is a lady that actually survived Internal Decapitation http://youtube.com/watch?v=PWmJ1m3Jvhc&mode=related&search=

So, as you can tell, it has ZERO to do with neck STRENGTH. I was in a side impact crash where the drunk driver was going 65-70mph and it snapped my neck--I was 20 years old.

Did you know that if YOU are in a 30mph, one vehicle accident and your child weighs 20lbs, they turn into 600lbs of force. THAT is a LOT of force for a child.

Consider this: A car going 40mph would hit a tree with the same force as hitting the ground after falling off a 50 foot cliff. A person inside the car would hit the windshield (unrestrained, of course) with the same force as hitting the ground after a fall from a five-story building.

Another thing to know is that when a child is RFing, the BACK of their carseat--the part that goes behind their back and head--take the brunt of the crash force.  In a FF car seat, the CHILD takes the brunt of the crash force.

This shows spine development. You can see how the spine doesn't fuse together until they are quite older.
user posted image


This diagram shows you how "top heavy" children are and how disproportioned they are.
user posted image

I understand that it is ultimately the parent's decision, but I want to make sure that the information is out there for the parent to make the decision.  No one needs to feel bad or scared or worried.  Here is the information.  Some crashes are unsurvivorable no matter what safety precautions have been taken.  But, I WANT your children just as safe as YOU do.  I am VERY passionate about child passenger safety and child safety in general.

Melissa, CPST-I   Remember, there are no second chances in automobile crashes. Your children rely on YOU to help keep them safe. 
Need help locating a carseat technician in your area?  Click here to find one! 
https://ssl13.cyzap.net/dzapps/dbzap.bin/apps/assess/Webmembers/tool?pToolCode=TAB9&pCategory1=TAB9_CERTSEARCH&Webid=SAFEKIDSCERTSQL

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