This post was originally run on 12/05/2010 . Buggy is now nearly 4 and still rear facing!
I recently met a wonderful mom. Like nearly every mom, she just wants the best for her little one. As we chatted, the topic of carseats came up. She was excited to have a celebration on her little one’s first birthday to turn the carseat forward facing. She said her little one cries when in the car and she hopes that forward facing will help.
Like me when I first became a mom, she knew that babies needed to rear face until a year and 20 pounds. She didn’t really know there was another option. She had heard about the new recommendations to rear face longer, but she didn’t know why. I was so thankful that she was willing to learn about safety. I got to tell her a little of what I have learned over the roller coaster of having 2 kids (this little one is her first).
We chatted about overall safety. We chatted about the makes of seats. Her biggest question was in regards to feet. You see, she had just purchased a convertible seat for her little one. She thought she needed to since the little one’s feet were touching the back of the seat. My friend was hoping that the new seat would solve that problem. She didn’t know what was safe regarding feet. When I was in her place, I didn’t know either.
It turns out that it is perfectly safe for little feet to touch the back of the seat when rear facing. The seat is not outgrown when the feet touch, but when the weight limit is reached or when there is less than 1″ of shell above baby’s head (see specific carseat manuals for more details). It is actually MORE comfortable to sit cross-legged in a rear facing seat than to have legs dangling in a forward facing seat. Take it from someone who has dangling feet in pretty much any chair.
I’d rather cross my legs “Indian style” (is that what “criss-cross applesauce” means these days?) in a chair any day.
So, will my friend have her turnaround celebration at a year? Maybe. Maybe not. She won’t be breaking any laws if she does. She is now armed with information to make her own decision.
I encourage you – keep your children safe. Consider rear facing beyond a year. Both of my boys are rear facing and they will be for quite some time to come. I mean, they don’t know any differently, do they? So, what are they missing?