Having four kids over multiple years gives you the unique ability to see things from a new perspective the ‘second time around’. You see, my first two kids are two years apart in age (now 10 and 8), and my youngest two are also two years apart, but at 3 and 1 years of age we had quite a bit of time from the first two kids to the second which has allowed us to learn and grow as parents.
One of the things we “did wrong” the first time was to turn the car seats forward facing a bit too soon. Our kids are fine, but there is always a chance that something could happen when riding in a car, and while we were lucky that nothing has happened yet, there is always a risk. Knowing when to turn around your car seat can really make a difference in the safety of your kids should an accident happen.
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“We All Did It”
One of the things that we have learned so much more about as parents, is car seat safety. With our first child, I hate to say it, but we were so excited to be able to turn his car seat around as soon as he hit the age of one (the required age to be able to forward face in our state). Everyone else was doing it, he hated riding backward, it seemed to make sense at the time to just go ahead and flip him around.
Turning him around did provide us with a lot of relief from crying and tantrums, but what we didn’t realize at the time was how much more dangerous it was. Luckily for us, we made it through unscathed, however, with our younger two kids we have read the research, learned from experts, and know that it is much safer to keep kids rear facing as long as possible.
I did face a lot of pressure from grandma and grandpa to just turn the kids around. “It’s so much easier. They’ll like it better. They looked cramped.” — Lots of reasons came as to why I should turn the kids forward-facing. My thought on this is that people who grew up not even using car seats don’t have all of the information about when to turn around your car seat.
My answer to their ‘concerns’ was simple…. “I’ll switch the seat when it is safe to turn her forward, probably when she is about four.”
I’m not sure those in the older generations really liked my answer as they saw it as silly, but as a parent, you and I both want what is best — and safest for our kids. And for me, that is keeping them rear-facing as long as possible.
When To Turn Around Your Car Seat
TurnAfter2 – Stay Rear-Facing Longer
Recently, I’ve partnered with Chicco in their TurnAfter2 campaign to help bring awareness to the idea that it is much safer to keep kids rear-facing until at least 2 years of age.
There is a ton of research out there about why you should keep your child rear-facing longer. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been recommending this since 2011 because before 2 years of age a child’s muscular and skeletal structure is still developing. When rear-facing, a child’s head, neck, and spine are all supported by the car seat during an accident.
“Younger children tend to have relatively bigger heads, weaker necks and muscles in general and looser tendon and ligaments,” Hoffman explained. “Facing forward, the head and neck are thrown forward violently in a crash, and the same forces that can lead to whiplash in an adult can actually cause the spine of a young child to separate and injure the spinal cord.” (Forbes)
My youngest is just about to turn two and while we still have him rear-facing, over the coming months I’ll show you some tips on proper car seat installation for the Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat in both the rear and forward facing configurations — and he just happens to make a great model. 🙂 Stay tuned…..
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The TurnAfter2 campaign and information provided about when to turn around your car seat, are brought to you in partnership with Chicco. I have received free product and/or compensation in exchange for this post.