Friday, August 27, 2010

Why I Chose Extended Rearfacing

I hate that I can't see her when I'm driving in the car.

When I was registering for all things baby, I registered for a really big mirror to hang off the back seat so I could "see" her while I was driving.  Since I didn't drive much for the first 6 weeks out of the hospital, that mirror got installed in my mother's car, where it still is to this day.

So I don't have a cute backwards mirror in my car.  So I can't see her. 

Because, you see, even though my Wee One is over a year old, and I think she just managed to hit the 20 pound point last week, I won't turn her car seat around to face forward.  Even though I hate not being able to see her, even though it breaks my arm to have to pass something over the top of her carseat, even though it barely fits that way in the back seat of my car, I won't turn her car seat around to face forward.


Because extended rear facing carseats are safer and save lives.

It's not a rumor, and it's not a bunch of holier-than-thou mommy crap.  There are studies that are published that prove that the longer your child remains in a rear-facing carseat designed for larger children, the more safe your child will be.  From the above linked abstract:  "Data support a new recommendation that children stay rear-facing in size-appropriate car seats until they reach the highest weight and height allowed for rear-facing by the manufacturer of the convertible seat. Premature graduation to the next seat type/size/position increases risk of injury."

Here is a site that quotes other studies - but I didn't verify the publications, so I include with that warning.

I had the idea of extended rearfacing in mind when I bought her new carseat when she turned a year old.  In our carseat, she can remain rearfacing until she is 35 pounds (which, at this rate, might mean middle school.  I jest.  Slightly.)

I hate that I can't see her.  But I love that she is safer.  I love that if I am in a freak accident and something god-forbidden happens, that I know that I did everything I could, I made every decision I could, to keep her as safe as I could.

Then you let go and pray.


Funky Mama Bird said...

I could have written this. Gunne is still rear facing, and will be until he hits about 40lbs. Which at his present rate of growth will be in high school. Although he's so tall, he'll have to pretzel wrap his legs around his neck to fit that way. I also hate that I can't see him, but it is so much safer, and his car seat will be safe rear facing for at least another year or two if not longer, so really, why not?

I don't think I could live with myself if I turned him around for my convinience. What if we were in an accident? I swear I'd give myself panic attacks just thinking about it!

MommieV said...

I cry when I think about it, so I try not to.

I try not to be soapbox-y about it, but I truly believe the studies that say it is safer.

When she turned a year old her doc said we could "turn her around" in the car and I told him we'd keep her rearfacing in her new seat. He said "well, you might as well, since she's so small." Way to advocate for safety, doc.

And an update, today at the doc (no ear infection TG) she is 21 pounds!!!!!

Serifm said...

I believe the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends 2 as the bare minimum, so more and more doctors are getting on board. It's easy to get frustrated with the ones who are lackadaisical, but I try to remember that breastfeeding, rearfacing, etc are parenting decisions more than medical ultimately it's my job to know what's going on. Great post!

MommieV said...

I didn't include the AAP stuff because there was some controversy around it, and I had trouble verifying their "current position". They first said they confirmed the research, and on their website it said a policy revision was forthcoming, then I read that they decided not to actually change their recommendation policy but to present the information on their site. There are doctor's websites that now say the recommendation has been changed, so I'm guessing they are updating the information getting to the docs. Either way, the information is getting out there, so I think that's good.

I agree that it's one of those areas that it's important for parents to stay informed.

Serifm said...

I should have said "parenting decisions as much as medical decisions," because of course they're both. Sloppy word choice.

MommieV said...

Sara, I expected better from you. Sloppy word choices are just not acceptable around here :)