Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rear-Facing is Safer!

The American Academy of Pediatrics finally updated its position on car seat safety, including suggesting that children remain rear-facing until at least the age of 2.  According to Dr. Dennis Durbin, quoted in the press release appearing in the April issue of Pediatrics, "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."  Children under 2 harnessed in rear-facing car seats are 75% less likely to die or be severely injured in an impact from any direction.  More of a visual learner?  This shows a clear message:

An article in the Chicago Tribune interviewed parents who were less than thrilled with the new guidelines, arguing that children aren't content to face backwards at an older age and all guidelines need to be weighed against other considerations.  I have to wonder if any of those parents really understand that their child is 75% safer facing backwards, or if they have ever seen images like those in the video above.  In Sweden, children are required by law to ride in rear-facing car seats until the age of 4 and weighing 55 pounds, so the AAP's recommendation of 2 years of age is still conservative by many standards (look at the size of the crash test dummies in the video above- they do not look like two year olds to me).  

Facing the back of a seat for a long car ride can understandably become monotonous for the child, resulting in an unhappy passenger and then, of course, driver.  We bring toys and books in the car and plan long rides around nap time.  Perhaps the most helpful equipment for us has been this car mirror, designed to allow me to watch Tye in the back seat even though she is rear-facing. (We have a Britax Roundabout 55, which allows Tye to remain rear-facing until she weighs 55 pounds- a long time from now!)  
The mirror was a lifesaver when Tye was an infant and I worried about every little noise she made.  Soon, it was also entertaining for her as she stared at her reflection.  Now, at stoplights, I turn around and make faces at Tye to keep her entertained and she smiles back at me through the mirror, or I'll play peek-a-boo until the light turns green.  During the drive, we sing songs and tell stories, and if we need to, we take breaks.  Though I know our car rides will become easier when Tye can face forward and look out the window on our trips, I'm not willing to sacrifice her safety anytime soon.

What car travel tips do you have for keeping your little one happy?  
Tye put on her sunglasses before we left and wouldn't take them off!

1 comment:

  1. i have been putting off flipping sonny's seat around, and i should be slapped. Thanks for the visual aid...i am officially sold!

    thanks for all your nice comments on my blog :)


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