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REAR FACE your child for as LONG as possible :)

Posted by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:55 PM
  • 233 Replies

 

REAR FACE your child for as LONG as possible :)

(Thanks CaliMom!!)

 

Ask and most moms will tell you that graduating their infant from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing one is an exciting step.

But should it be?

We've all heard the "at least 20 pounds and at least one year" and know it's important to follow safety guidelines when dealing with our children. So why do more than 30 percent of parents in the US go against this guideline and actually face their children forward earlier?

Just recently American Academy of Pediatrics added this to its Car Seat Safety guidelines: If a car safety seat accommodates children rear facing to higher weights, for optimal protection,the child should remain rear facing until reaching the maximum weight for the car safety seat, as long as the top of the head is below the top of the seat back.

“In Scandinavian countries it’s common to keep children rear facing up to 3 or 4 years old and there’s some good data there that proves it’s effective,” says Chris Sherwood, a research scientist who is studying the issue at the University of Virginia Automobile Safety Laboratory.

As part of a project sponsored by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sherwood and colleagues recently completed a study looking at the benefits of keeping children in car seats that face rear. Sherwood’s research is now undergoing the necessary stage of being published and peer reviewed but the outcomes look intriguing.

His study, presented at a recent meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, involved 870 children under age 2 who had been in either rear-facing or forward-facing car seats at the time of an automobile accident. He found that the children in forward-facing seats were more than four times as likely to be injured in side crashes as opposed to the children in rear-facing seats.

When used properly, rear-facing car seats provide significant safety advantages in frontal, frontal offset and side impacts.  These types of crashes are far more frequent and severe than rear-end crashes.  For these reasons, rear-facing is the safest mode of travel for anyone.

See Below: 30 second video showing how different the levels of protection are when Rear Facing VS Front Facing. It's physics.

“The findings from the other countries and in Chris Sherwood’s work, although preliminary, should be considered carefully,” says Kristy Arbogast, associate director of field engineering with Traumalink at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a leading researcher in the field. Arbogast notes that in general the newest evidence appears convincing that keeping children facing rear longer is the safest way to go.

In the last decade improvements have been made in computer modeling and child-size crash test dummies to give researchers a clearer understanding of what happens to children in car crashes. What we know is that a child's anatomy differs significantly from an adult’s and puts them more at risk for certain serious injuries in automobile accindents. 

“The biomechanics of their necks facilitate the birth process — there’s a lot of flexibility in a child’s neck compared to an adult’s,” says Arbogast. “The youngest kids have a neck or cervical spine that doesn’t have the strength to withstand the forces they’d experience in many crashes.”

When a child is placed in a rear-facing seat there is less chance of trauma to the highly vulnerable neck and head areas during the most common crashes. Arbogast notes that even older children, up to age 12, still haven’t fully developed yet. Children and adults, both, would be safer sitting rear-facing.

Nobody expects an adult or teen or even a preteen to rear face in a car.. there aren't seats developed for it anyway. But common sense suggests that we should, at the very least, try to keep our children doing it for as long as possible.

Kathleen Klinich, a senior research associate at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, says: "Unlike previously, now the majority of seats offered in the U.S. accommodate children up to 30 pounds rear-facing.". (In Scandinavian countries most seats accommodate even heavier and taller children.) “That means that most children can remain rear facing until at least age 2 and beyond.”

She also says, “a comparison study of Scandinavian to German crash data seems to indicate that the safety benefit is particularly strong for kids from 1 year to 2 years.." and “..I think there’s a notion out there that kids are somehow happier when they go forward-facing, but we haven’t found this to be true. Besides, safety shouldn’t be a choice. If your child cried and screamed because you wouldn’t let him play in middle of road, you still wouldn’t let him play in a the middle of the road.”

Some parents also think that an older child’s longer legs will hit the back seat when rear-facing..

“When I talk to parents some feel that the bigger children are more at risk for leg injuries because their legs are bunched up. But that concern has never been borne out in the data,” says Arbogast. “Besides, remember, the risks you’re trying to prevent by keeping a child rear-facing are head and spinal injuries. Broken legs are easy fixes compared to the other injuries."

"The biggest obstacle to longer rear-facing rides is simply changing a parent’s perception," says Miriam Manary, also a senior research associate at the University of Michigan. "Parents need to realize that as a child moves through various car seat stages (from an infant seat, to a convertible to a booster seat to regular seat belts) each one offers less protection than the prior phase."

“Parents should be looking to prolong these stages rather than rushing through them,” she advises. “Remember, graduation to the next level isn’t progress. It’s a decrease in safety.”

Sources:

http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/carseatsafety.cfm
http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=696
http://ur.umich.edu/0203/Jan20_03/26.shtml




 





by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:55 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Kaelansmom
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:56 PM

 Good info, but I couldn't do it.. so bump for you

mom2hailey08
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:57 PM

 blah...

danie24
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:04 PM

 

My rear facing 5 year old and almost 3 year old :)

 




 





LilyofPhilly
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:12 PM

I do rear-face my grandson, but his mother chooses not to for whatever reason. I've given her the information, not much more I can do than that.

norahsmommy
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:20 PM

lovely. Very nice information.  When my first dd was approching her 1 yr mark I wanted a seat that would rf her longer because our infant seat only went to 22 lbs. My inlaws bought us a seat and we all thought it went rfing too.  Well we didn't use if for several months and by the time we did we realized it did not rf and we couldn't return it so I just ff my daughter at 1 year old.  Then I ff'd my second dd at 11 months because she didn't fit in the carrier anymore.  I know now I had her WAY WAY overbundled.  She was only 18 lbs.  But when I was pregnant this last time I did some research and discovered just how wrong I was to ff that soon with my girls.  They were not safe that way.  So when my middle child was 24 months she went back rfing in a myride 65.  Then I got one for the new baby as well.  They will stay rfing for a LONG time yet.  My middle child is almost 3, 24 lbs and is very happy rfing. She will stay that way until she is too tall for the seat ( I doubt she will outgrow it in weight since it rear faces to 40 lbs.

I have heard the 'there legs are too long' argument many times.  It took just a bit of research to learn that its perfectly fine for their legs to touch the back of the seat. And no I am not babying my children keeping them rearfacing for a good long time. Riding in the car is one of the most dangerous things our kids do.  It makes sense to protect them.  Kids wear helmets and knee pads to roller blade or ride bikes or skateboards so why not protect them in the car with a proper seat?  They are not very expensive and if you plan ahead you can get a good seat that will last your child a long time.  People here think I am weird, I don't mind because now I know my kids are as protected as they can be in the  car.  I know I am a good driver, but accidents happen, I cannot control what happens outside my car and who may hit me, but I will do my best to protect my children from injury.

wilesmomma
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:22 PM
Bump
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
possummom
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:28 PM

not for me thanks. turned all three of my girls around as soon as they turned a yr old. they survived just fine.

                 

danie24
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:44 PM

 

Quoting possummom:

not for me thanks. turned all three of my girls around as soon as they turned a yr old. they survived just fine.

Do you think that's because they weren't involved in any serious car crash?

..or was it because their brains and spinal cords could defy the laws of physics in an automobile accident?




 





Karyanne24
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 2:29 PM
Lol!! Omg that cracked me up. Love that response!


Quoting danie24:

 


Quoting possummom:


not for me thanks. turned all three of my girls around as soon as they turned a yr old. they survived just fine.


Do you think that's because they weren't involved in any serious car crash?


..or was it because their brains and spinal cords could defy the laws of physics in an automobile accident?


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Thomigirl
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 2:39 PM

...I'm trying to figure out how it is safer to ahve your childs knees up like that.  Whatever, I'm sure I can find a study that says otherwise.  Do what's best for you kid.  Mine are forward facing.

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