One of my friends posted a CNN article on Facebook yesterday, and I was so excited when I saw the subject: “AAP: Toddlers in rear-facing seat until 2”. The American Academy of Pediatrics has finally made age 2 the new guideline for turning a toddler’s car seat around in the car. Previously, the AAP had simply recommended that parents keep a child rear facing for as long as possible, but also cited the minimum one year and 20 pounds. A lot of parents interpreted that as the best time to turn the seat, which is NOT the case.
Those of you who read this blog regularly, or know me in person, know that I am a huge advocate of extended rear facing for toddlers. In fact, I’m sure plenty of my friends are sick of hearing about it. It is something I strongly believe in, though, and I try to educate as many people as I can about it. Rylie was almost three when we finally turned her, and we will not even think about turning Bryce until he is two.
Why should you leave your child rear facing as long as possible? I’m not going to go on and on here about the reasons, but bottom line is that it is safer. Period. You can type “extended rear facing car seat” into Google and get a slew of research on it. You will also find out why your child has a greater risk of serious injury (including internal decapitation) or death by being turned around before 2.
I honestly cannot believe how many people used to ask me why Rylie was still rear facing, even before she turned 2. It amazed me that people didn’t know how much safer it is. People would give me weird looks when they would see me putting her in the car in her rear facing seat, and the looks got even weirder the older she got. I didn’t care. My kid was safe. People could give me weird looks all day.
I used to get comments like “oh, my kid is way too tall for that. His legs are all scrunched up.” So? Rylie is average height. She never once complained. She didn’t even know there was another way to ride in the car. Kids fall asleep on the hard floor, they sleep without pillows on cots at school, they sit in positions I wouldn’t even be able to get into, so obviously their little bodies get comfortable much easier than ours do.
Another one of my favorite comments was “my kid screams in her seat when it is backwards.” Guess what? They scream when it is forward too. A lot of kids don’t like to be strapped in anything. Regardless, I would rather listen to screaming and know my child is safe, than to turn them just because I think they are upset about being backwards.
The CNN article (taken from Parenting.com) talked about how parents are so eager to turn their child’s car seat because it is a milestone, and milestones are exciting. As much as I love checking off milestones, that was one I was not eager to cross off my list. I don’t know why people get so excited to turn their children around. Even when we finally did turn Rylie, I wasn’t excited about it.
Now that the AAP has made 2 years old their new guideline, I hope parents will start to listen. It really IS safer. It would be nice, too, not to get those weird looks from other parents this time around with Bryce.
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