Front Facing Vs. Rear Facing Car Seat

20130618-220332.jpg Ziana and her friend two days ago

It’s a controversial topic– rear-facing (RF) car seat vs. front-facing (FF) car seat. I didn’t know there was such fuss over the topic.

The only thing I knew was that RF is the safest for your child, but didn’t know why or that other parents would give you the side eye and be angrily against it for even mentioning FF car seat for your infant.

Originally, before this past weekend, I was against the FF car seat and that was the last of the conversation between my boyfriend and I. On Saturday we went to Babies R’ Us and started shopping for a front-facing stroller and car seat! I swear that whatever my feelings were about the FF car seat were completely lost in my mind because I was shopping for it!

I was talking to my sister-in-law about it and she reminded me how unsafe FF car seat a were. I finally remembered I was also against it, how could I have forgotten!?

I took to Babycenter and asked what everyone’s opinions were on it and how I refuse to let Ziana sit in it. Answer after answer were parents begging me to not sit my newly one-year-old in that FF car seat.

Here are some of the remarks–

“Don’t do it. Have you researched the risks to Lo’s body AT ALL??? Their bones and neck muscles are not developed yet, there’s a HUGE risk of internal decapitation, death, paralyzation, and major injury. Their tiny weak necks can snap forward and hurt then really bad. Please please reconsider!”

“I hope every parent researches this topic and makes an educated decision as to what will keep their child as safe as possible.”

“Please take the info here to heart- it’s a very bad decision to FF this early.”

“What is the big ‘allure’ or benefit to forward facing them this early? It doesn’t matter for accessibility purposes, at least in my car. Additionally, who cares if I am inconvenienced!? This is my child life.”

**You can read the rest of the comments here on Babycenter.

Yes, what is the allure? I feel that it’s mostly fathers who are in the rush to put their child in a FF car seat. Many parents want their kids to sit in a FF car seat because they want to look at them, the kids want to see everything you see when driving, they are probably sick of staring at the back of the seats and so on. I had to put my boyfriend in his place the other day because he kept making jokes like, “Ziana mommy doesn’t want you to grow up” or “we just wasted money on buying a FF car seat.” I was tired of the jokes because my child’s safety shouldn’t be mocked! If there’s a higher risk of Ziana getting injured in a FF car seat she’s not sitting in one, PERIOD. I don’t care if the percentage is 1%, knowing I have that information and still decide to FF my child is just not something I’m willing to do.

Of course, there’s plenty of risk with kids who sit in a RF car seat. Your car can get hit on the side or from the back where the window can explode, but the impact of that would have to be extremely high. And sure, a child can get leg injuries from an accident, but a broken leg is way better than broken neck or worse death.

I spoke to my friend yesterday about this topic because I had remembered that she put her son in a FF car seat soon after his first birthday 6 months ago. She stated that her son was to tall and he his feet were bended so he was uncomfortable. Then she stated, “every child is different.” Clearly, every child is different, but I just didn’t get her decision for it and never will.

CP Safety said it best,
“Many parents have the misconception that children are uncomfortable or at risk for leg injury by having their legs up on the vehicle seat or bent when kept rear-facing. These concepts are completely incorrect. First, children are more flexible than adults so what we perceive as uncomfortable is not for children. Think about how your child sits in everyday play. Do they sit with their legs straight out in front of them? When they sit on the couch, do they purposely sit so their legs dangle out over the edge? No. In real, everyday life, toddlers and preschoolers CHOSE to sit with their legs folded up – that IS comfort to them.”

The old recommendation was that once your child turned one and weighed 20lbs. it was okay to have them sit in a FF car seat. Well that recommendation has changed.

New policy added in 2011 from AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) advising parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age. I know it’s a recommendation, it’s not mandatory nor is it a law, it’s simply a guideline to follow given the evidence and concern. I feel the longer their in a RF car seat the better.

Check this video out:
[youtube width=”500″ height=”390″][/youtube]
In a FF car seat the head, neck and spine are all affected and you clearly see the impact on the child. Why risk it?

We all loving seeing our little one’s conquer their next big step in life like crawling, walking, talking, and we want so bad to know how they will speak, laugh or what their personality will be, but why rush everything? Enjoy the moments in slow-motion. Plus, facing the child in a FF car seat is not a milestone!

Are you a bad parent for doing so? Absolutely not, but you should definitely question your choice and decide with an open mind from both angles. It’s better to be safe and feel silly then live with regret if anything happens. Just a pointer– get a car seat from the get that will hold the child up to the most lbs. and height.

For more questions about height, weight, their legs, buying a new car seat visit The Car Seat Lady.


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