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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rear-facing toddlers

Commenting on someone else's blog about car seats tonight reminded me of something I meant to post a while back... I went through a phase where I was concerned about Katie's feet being flush against the back of the seat when she was buckled in her car seat (if she stretched her legs out, which she rarely does). I was afraid if we were in an accident, her legs would get broken. She was over a year, but only 18 lbs. (The law in CO is at least 1 year and at least 20 lbs.)

I asked her doctor about it. First she said, Oh, you're not going to get in an accident, so don't worry about it. (Nice that she was so optimistic, but I just couldn't share that, with us about to take a trip home.) She said the issue was head control, and that Katie could control her head well so she would probably be OK. But if I got stopped, she wasn't the one who said that.

I called 2 different car-seat checkers in town. One said I should definitely turn her around, that sometimes he had to turn around 6 month olds because their legs were too long. The other one said not only should I not turn her around, but I should consider keeping her that way well past 20 lbs, because broken legs heal, but a spinal cord injury is permanent and potentially deadly. When I was talking to her, I remembered that they had said the same things in our carseat safety class (was that really almost 3 years ago!?!?!?).

Confused about what the truth was, I decided to keep her rear-facing since that was the law, and I was scared of getting caught and them taking her away. (Unlikely, I know, but if I can prevent it, shouldn't I? Okay, I admit it, I'm just a paranoid freak!)

Shortly thereafter, a friend sent me some links to this article and this one (and for good measure I'm including this link to the AAP's policy too) that have convinced me to keep her rear-facing, even though she is now over the 20 lb. minimum weight. If they're wrong, I am not really losing anything. If they are right, she's many times safer the way she is than turned forward.

I also thought hard about turning Sammy back around, but he was so close to the 33 lb. max rear-facing weight of his Britax Marathon, I decided against it. Although he did really seem to really enjoy sitting backwards in Katie's seat when I had him try it out to see if he could get his legs situated comfortably (which he did immediately!).

Is anyone else out there keeping their older babies rear-facing, or considering it? Or have you even heard of it?

1 comment:

Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

We read up on it extensively, and even keep Ander backwards for an extra six weeks or so, despite his reaching the required weight. My take was essentially the same as yours: it was either a really good thing, or at least wasn't harmful. But it's really hot down here, and our commute is a full half hour, and the car seat blocked the A/C. As summer approached, he would be sweating, clammy, and lethargic at the end of each commute. So I turned his seat around. But if I lived, say, in Colorado, or drove a car with a large enough back seat to get air back there, I would have left him rear-facing a lot longer.