I thought I was the only mom who continued to keep her children in the rear-facing position in the car seat after they turned one year old. I thought I was the only mom who would get strange looks and comments from others when they would see my toddlers still “rear-facing”. And I thought I must be the only one who has experienced a serious car crash and knows that even in low speed crashes, whiplash is extremely violent to the neck and spinal cord. But it turns out that I am not the only one.
I talked to a mom online who feels the same as I do– from the comments and strange looks to her gut feeling telling her to keep her children rear-facing. She sent me some information that confirmed that listening to that gut feeling has been keeping our children safe. It turns out that mothers in Sweden keep their children rear-facing until they are four years old. Research shows that only 9 children within 5 years died in Sweden due to car crashes. Compare that to the fact that the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. after they are one year old (once they are turned around forward facing) is from car crashes. This woman told me that it was hard to get her friends to realize the seriousness of this until she found this sobering information put out by a group called Car Safety 4 Kids.
Most parents I know turn their kids forward facing once they turn one year old because there has been information out there from pediatricians and others credible agencies that recommended doing so. But many parents don’t realize that since April 2009, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their recommendation to keep children rear-facing until at least two years old. In addition, they say that if your car seat allows your child to sit rear-facing beyond two years old, then they recommend you keep your child rear-facing until they are beyond the age or weight limits of the car seat in the rear-facing position.
Luckily my husband agrees with me on keeping the children rear-facing. He met an emergency room nurse that told him to please keep your kids rear-facing until at least 35 pounds. She said that she sees so many horrific accidents that could have been greatly minimized by keeping the children rear-facing. My oldest child is now 40 pounds, three and three quarters years old. I just turned his car seat around to front facing because his legs were falling asleep being scrunched up. I am glad that I kept him rear-facing for these past few years. Now his spinal cord and neck are much stronger, so that in the event of an accident, he won’t be as vulnerable to serious or fatal injury. (The younger the child, the more likely his or her thin spinal cord could stretch and break from whiplash; that is the same affect as decapitation!!!) Having been in some serious auto accidents myself, I know how violent and long-lasting whiplash can be. That’s why the Swedish take this seriously to keep millions of children from dying. If only more Americans would realize it is a matter of life and death, we could save millions of American children’s lives.
Your Sensible Girlfriend