Lately I have been thinking about the controversial issue of seat belts and children in car seat. This topic mostly stems from my most recent interaction with my child and the fact that he no longer fits in his infant car seat. I have been researching and reviewing different brands of car seats in hopes to find one that will best protect my little man from a crash if in a situation that it ever occurs. In recent visits to the pediatrician I found myself asking the doctor what recommendations he has for car seats and how a child should be sitting in the car. Whether a child should be rear facing or forward. You see my little guy has LONG legs and being rear facing can seem a little cramped at times. I want him to be comfortable in the back, this got me thinking about when I should make his car seat rear facing, after all he is a year now and alot of my friends have chosen to make their childs car seat forward facing. The conclusion that I have found sums up to this:
"The American Academy of Pediatrics stated that they are now officially recommending parents keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. They're also advising that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are 8-12 years of age."
The AAP's policy will appear in the April edition of Pediatrics (their peer-reviewed scientific journal) and is based on research such as a 2007 study in Injury Prevention showing that children under 2 are 75% less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing. According to a post from The New York Times, here's the problem with putting young children in a forward-facing seat:
“A baby’s head is relatively large in proportion to the rest of his body, and the bones of his neck are structurally immature,” said Dr. Dennis R. Durbin, scientific co-director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “If he’s rear-facing, his entire body is better supported by the shell of the car seat. When he’s forward-facing, his shoulders and trunk may be well restrained, but in a violent crash, his head and neck can fly forward.”
In the instance of a crash a babies head is more likely to fly forward causing the neck to have major damage and other life threatening issues. So when it comes down to comfort and safety I choose SAFETY and I hope most of you will as well. Look at the research and make the decision for your self and when you feel the time is right you can make the decision to go forward facing.