carseats...the rear- vs front-facing debate

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-28-2005
carseats...the rear- vs front-facing debate
Wed, 01-19-2011 - 10:29am

here's the backstory for my question:

i was at my friends' place for the weekend for their son's 1st birthday party (his birthday was yesterday).


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Wed, 01-19-2011 - 10:51am
My response to the legs thing is that broken legs are easier to fix than broken necks.

Further if you never turn the baby to face the front, will they really know what they are missing? My friend couldnt wait to turn her baby front facing because "it would make their 40 minute drive together every day more pleasant because they could talk to each other." Different strokes I guess...not my kid like you say.

I plan to rear face Maxim until he is at least 2 as well and will help him cross his legs. I just ignore most people when they ask questions and just respond that he is the safest in the car when he is rear facing. The laws in Ontario are really strict...he will have to ride in a booster seat until he is 80 lbs or 4 feet 9 inches or can safely sit in the car with the knees bent over the seat. I know a 10 year old that is still in a booster seat because of this law.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2008
Wed, 01-19-2011 - 11:16am

I think that as far as comfort, it's more comfortable to sit with legs crossed in a rear-facing seat than to sit forward-facing with legs dangling, not touching anything. Think of the pressure that puts on the back of the legs.

I also think it's commendable you tried to educate your friends, even if they weren't willing. I have a friend who insisted on turning her son as soon as he turned 1, but won't leave him in the church nursery/daycare because she's scared of shaken baby syndrome. I think that a car crash is much more likely, and the whiplash is the same principle. To each his own. We can only protect our own kids. Peter will stay rear-facing until I can't find a seat to fit him in anymore.sig by ChrissySig by Chrissy at SMFB! Lilypie First Birthday tickersby chrissy bottlemommy greenby chrissy water

by sara photo sigbysara.jpg
Avatar for berry81
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2008
Wed, 01-19-2011 - 2:08pm
The only thing you want to look for in terms of height and RFing limits is how close the top of their head is to the back of the car seat -- once their head gets within one inch of the top of the back of the shell, they should be turned FFing. As for the legs, they can just cross them. Eliza is quite tall (95th %ile) and I just help her cross her legs (if she doesn't do it automatically) when I put her in her seat.

I think it's great that you're educating your friends -- I don't know who wouldn't be convinced when they look at the crash stats that have consistently shown that a child who is FFing is 5.3 times more likely to sustain serious injury than a RFing child.

I always direct people to this meta-analysis:

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2007
Wed, 01-19-2011 - 3:17pm

We already have too-tall issues with James--his head is already level with the top of his cradle/swing, and I think he'll need to be in a convertible seat by 6 months, because he's already about 3 inches away from the top of his carseat . . .

With this seaid, he'll rear-face as long as possible.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-29-2008
Wed, 01-19-2011 - 4:45pm
They aren't too tall for rear facing UNLESS they are taller than the shell of the seat, which some seats have really short shells. They need to have one inch of head room left to rear face correctly. As far as legs, they can cross, put them on the backseat, etc. They are really flexible still where as you and I wouldn't be so comfy doing that! LOL I think its awesome you are rear facing as long as possible. I got my sister doing it with her kiddos! Her youngest just got a Graco MyRide that dad and I got her for Christmas and she has A LOT of head room left in it! So wouldn't be surprised to see her rear facing at 3+! LOL

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Thank you Dedi and Kelly for my
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2007
Wed, 01-19-2011 - 8:20pm
Barrett completely sprawls his legs over the sides of his carseat; he's not really a leg crosser. Toddlers don't sit with their legs straight normally (well at least mine doesn't) so he's not exactly trying to stretch them out in the car either. And I'm not sure I believe everyone who thinks their toddler is happier facing forward. Barrett's ridden forward facing a couple times in his babysitter's car, and he absolutely does not care which way he is facing. He's perfectly happy looking at the trucks out the back!

As for crazy, turning-forward stories, my next door neighbors turned their daughter forward at around 9 months, and the father is a police officer! In NC there is no rule regarding rear facing, so this is legal but you would think a police officer would have a general idea as to the safety of car seats.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
Wed, 01-19-2011 - 8:50pm

The other ladies gave you great advice about rear facing and heights limits etc... but I wanted to add how your story reminded me of my SILs.

I have 2 SILs (DH's sister and my brothers wife)... their oldest children are DS's are age or a year younger... and neither SIL sits them in booster seats. It's the law in our state that children need to be in booster seats till they are at least 8 AND 4'7"... which neither of them are. It drives me batty that they just let them ride in the car without being in a proper restraint.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
Thu, 01-20-2011 - 11:11am

There has never actually been a confirmed case of a broken leg when rear-facing, there have been many when a child is forward facing.

Thank you for the sig Mary

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-17-2007
Thu, 01-20-2011 - 12:13pm
RyRy is still RF at 27 months (and about 26 lbs. and 32 in. tall - he's a shrimp), and he rests his feet on the back of the seat. It hasn't seemed to bother him. I've just read and seen too many horror stories of FF 1-2 year olds suffering horrific neck injuries during car crashes. If I can do anything at all to protect him from that, I will.

We may need to turn him when Pippa arrives just to be able to fit both car seats in our back seat, but he will be 31 months at that point, and hopefully a little bigger. His seat can stay RF up to 35 lbs., and if at all possible, I'd like to leave him RF until that time.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2008
Thu, 01-20-2011 - 12:42pm