The first birthday. Such an exciting time filled with baby babble, unsteady toddling, and newfound independence. Sure, you celebrate all the lovely milestones that accompany your baby turning one, but can we discuss the most important one in my book? Saying sayonara to the rear-facing car seat! People, I cried tears of utter joy when I turned my son around and let him join the world of the forward-facing. Let’s just say it made our driving experience a much more peaceful one.
However, that was pre-2011. Enter the present, and the brand new AAP guidelines. You can imagine the sheer horror I experienced when my pediatrician informed me at Wita’s 12-month checkup that she would be spending the entire next year facing the menacing black leather backseat of my vehicle as well. NOOOOOOOOOO. Wita’s opinion of riding in the car is not a positive one, mainly because she can’t stand craning her neck around to see what’s going on behind her. Every second of every minute of my errand-running involves some sort of decibel-shattering war cry coming from the backseat. Another YEAR of this?
For those of you wondering what in the hell I’m talking about, the AAP announced this year that children should be in rear-facing car seats until they turn two, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. (Studies show that a rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body.) Well, if you are like me and own some sort of convertible car seat (Britax Marathon, holla!), the maximum height is 49 inches and the weight is 70 pounds. Last I checked, I didn’t conceive Wita with a water buffalo, so I don’t think she’ll be hitting those stats before her second birthday. However, she is a tall toddler and already has issues with where to put her legs while jammed up against the backseat. What is she supposed to do 9 months from now? Fold her legs up like an origami swan? A whole new meaning to criss cross applesauce, my friends.
I’ve been putting out my feelers and it seems that many parents are viewing this new information solely as a “recommendation,” and aren’t necessarily following it. To be honest, I’m totally torn. Of course I want to keep my child safe, but let’s face it, driving in the car would be a completely different (read: PLEASANT) experience with Wita facing forward. Not to mention her brother did just fine in a forward-facing car seat when he turned one, back when the recommendation was to make the switch at that time frame. It’s definitely rolling the dice, though, and I’m not sure I could ever forgive myself if something happened. So, rear-facing it is for the time being.
What are your thoughts? Do your children despise rear-facing car seats as much as mine do? Does the thought of spending time in the car with your children make you want to sob uncontrollably while stuffing stale Pirate’s Booty in your piehole? Would you follow the AAP’s new recommendation or take matters into your own hands?