Note From the Editor: Wow. Over the past 12 hours we’ve received nearly a dozen comments from passionate and seemingly well-versed moms who hate this post. It was published nearly four months ago, so I’m assuming this is because it was shared by Safe Ride For Kids.
Keep in mind, this was simply a blog post about a story that aired elsewhere, not a fully-researched editorial like most of the others in our “Car Seat Safety” section.
The point of the story/blog was reaction to a new law. It was not intended to be an educational article or demonstrate how to install a rear-facing car seat. However, we did site stats that prove rear-facing is ALWAYS best. I’m guessing some of the commenters didn’t watch the linked TV news stories.
That said, I absolutely agree with their sentiment.
I personally interviewed dozens of moms for one of the linked TV news stories, and I only found one who was pleased with the new law. So, that’s what I reported. Murphy’s law of reporting—you always find the perfect interview subjects after the story airs.
Needless to say, I encourage anyone reading this post to read the comments below. While some are a bit mean and may have missed the point of the story, they do prove that children CAN comfortably ride rear-facing well past 2 years old. And the fact is, it is safest.
For future reference, you’ll find educational articles and research under “In-Depth Editorials” on NewsMom. This was simply a blog from our “Interesting Headlines” section, which generally doesn’t include additional independent research.
Also, I encourage anyone reading this post to check out our “Car Seat Safety” section. Specifically, “Wake The Baby” and “Concerning Chemicals in Car Seats.” If you’re opinionated when it comes to car seats, you’ll definitely want to comment on these!
Thanks for the feedback (and the passion) ladies!
- Julie Watts (Update: 1-22-16)
Rear-Facing Car Seats: Is two too big?
California’s governor recently signed a bill (effective 2017) that will require kids to stay in rear-facing car seats until they’re 2, 40 lbs or 40 inches.
But if you’ve ever seen a 35-pound, 35-inch 18-month old sitting in a rear-facing car seat, you may understand why not everyone is thrilled.
Bottom line, rear-facing car seats are safer. Period.
As reported by CBS affiliates across the state, studies show that kids under 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in an accident if their car seat is rear-facing. (Source: 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention)
A similar car seat law recently passed in New Jersey, and another is under consideration in Wisconsin. However, those states allow parents to turn kids around when they reach 30 lbs and 20 lbs, respectively.
California is the only state to require that a child stay in rear-facing car seats until they are 40 lbs or 40 inches tall.
While the current California law only requires kids stay rear-facing until they are 1, most moms with small kids know that “the recommendation” has long been to keep them rear-facing until they’re 2.
However, when a taller-than-average 18-month old is crying and/or puking on a long car ride backward with her knees digging into her chest, some parents weigh the risks and benefits and turn her around early.
That will soon be illegal.
Safety advocates applaud it. Parents are divided.
When this story was originally published, we could only find one parent who was happy about the new law. Then, months later, parents from across the country began commenting. One of them is Amber Martin, who says she is a child passenger safety expert. She shared a few photos of her super cute rear-facing kids well past the age of 2. Photographic evidence, 2 is NOT too big!
And for those parents who think 2 IS too big, Amber points out that there are a few perks you may be missing out on.
Forward facing seems to be a right of passage, but we need to retire that tradition. Think of the positive spin….. When they are rearfacing, you don’t have to share your food! And they are quieter because their voice is directed to the back! Also, they are actually MORE comfortable, with no numb legs or head slump!
We have also removed the screenshot images originally published with this blog and replaced them with images of children in properly installed rear-facing seats to avoid any confusion.
Here’s an additional interesting info graphic from Safe Ride 4 Kids.
What do you think? Weigh in here or on Facebook @NewsMomDotCom!
NewsMom Must-Read Car Seat Bonus Stories:
“Wake The Baby! Don’t Use Car Seats as Stroller Seats”
“Concerning Chemicals in Orbit Baby and Other Car Seats”
“Keep Car Seats in the Middle, A Fatal Seat Flaw Exposed”
Well first off, that seat isn’t installed rear-facing properly. Its far to upright. So of course the child will be uncomfortable. In Sweden kids rear-face until 4, and they have the lowest vehicle fatality rate of children in the world. So if their kids can stay rear-facing that long (no matter what) than our kids deserve to be just as safe do they not?
Crystal Hovland says
I have 2 happily rear facing 35″ children. but mine are only 27 & 29 lbs. in some seats their feet barely even touch the seat. their knees are not even close to touching their chest. my 2 oldest children both rear faced to 40lbs and over 40″ they were both over 4 when I turned them forward.
My daughter rear-faced until she hit 45 lbs and about 42 inches tall (she had a high-capacity rear facing seat; 45 lbs was the limit). She was 3 years, 7 months and off the charts in size at that time. She was happy and comfortable.
18 month old children scream in the car. It’s what they do. They don’t like giving up their newfound hyper-mobility to be strapped down. They would rather be running and climbing. Turning their car seats may calm that down slightly because of the novelty, but the same can be achieved by introducing a new car toy for them to play with or handing them a sippy cup when you buckle them in. Most kids will be either be back to screaming again in a couple of weeks, or they would have outgrown the screaming rear facing within a couple of weeks anyway. It’s the parents’ perception of discomfort that is the issue, not ACTUAL discomfort.
You are doing a disservice to families trying to keep their kiddos as safe as possible by approaching it from a direction that they don’t fit and it’s terrible. First, it doesn’t mean toddlers stay in the infant seat (which is what the left video kind of implies). Secondly, there is extremely obvious misuse or poor installation of the seat in every example that we saw, except for Katie and her son, where there was nothing obvious. Having a seat at an angle that the seat does not allow rear facing, having babies who can transition to a rear facing convertible seat with ample leg space but are still being stuffed into an infant seat does not show parents that they have better options that are not an inconvenience to them or to their children.
My sons rear faced until over 4. One of them was about 75% in height, and the other was about 40% percentile in height. I chose seats for them that fit into my car, fit them appropriately AND allowed them a good amount of leg room. It was not an inconvenience for any of us.
I’m not a fan of the law requiring my children to do anything. But I am a huge advocate for rear facing. Instead of complaining about this change for California and how awful it will be for the children, how about recommending that parents contact someone who devotes significant amounts of time researching and actively learning about seats that fit their needs, and how to properly install their seat so their children are riding safely too? There are plenty of forums and Facebook groups to ask the advice of Child Passenger Safety Technicians.
Amber Martin says
My 5 year old is 44′ tall and fits comfortably with ROOM in a foonf. Your article is poorly researched and executed.
My older kids rear faced until three. My youngest is almost 2 now, and fairly large for her age and will be rearfacing for the forseeable future.
I’m a certified child passenger safety technician in NJ and the law here is that kids must rear face till they are 2 years AND 30 lbs, not which ever comes first. With that being said, my youngest son rear faced quite comfortably till he was 3 years 8 months old and was 40 lbs and 40″, wearing a size 4t. At almost 7 years old now he still asks if I can turn his seat around so he can ride backwards (wish I could but he’s over all the limits now).
My three youngest children are currently rear facing. The older two are 41″, and 39 lbs, 31″, and 25lbs. The youngest is 6 months. All three are comfortable, and all three still have growing room in their seats.
Instead of an article trying to tell parents that a 35lb, 35″ child is too big. A much better article would have been one with properly installed seats. One that shows how a 35lb, 35″ child does fit, and that they can fit comfortably. Even better a 40lb, 40″ child.