Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Forward facing

This evening we’ll be embarking on a late-day six-hour drive to St. Augustine beach, where Rob’s family has rented a beach house -- and for the first time Owen’s going to get to see where we’re going. We’d been waffling on how long to wait before turning newly 1-year-old Owen around in the car. My pediatrician mentioned to me that although nearly all the parents in his practice are chomping at the bit to get their kids facing forward, in many European countries parents wait until as late as 3 years of age to turn their kids around. Rear-facing remains the safest position for quite a while – although I haven’t done the research to learn just how much safer it is. That's probably because I knew where we were heading.

It’s rough weighing safety against general happiness. We left Owen rear-facing for a week and a half, but as Rob and I started gearing up mentally for a significant little road trip we caved on the safety front and installed a forward facing seat for Owen. I’m looking forward to seeing how excited he is to be looking out the windows like his big brother, and I'm hoping it might relieve me of some of my backseat duties.

Here’s an American Academy of Pediatrics Web site, with car and booster seat safety recommendations. We’ll be waiting to move Will up to a booster seat until he’s truly outgrown his car seat, since, as they say, a move “up” is really a move down in safety.

Have any of you held out for well past a year (and 20 pounds) before moving to forward-facing seats? Maybe after we’ve conquered this trip, I could be persuaded to turn Owen around again. Although after he’s had a taste of the good forward-facing life, it may be hard to go back.


Kim said...

My youngest son (who is now 7) was 9lbs 4ozs at birth and gained a pound a week for the first 12 weeks of his life. (Yay mommy milk!) We reached the 20lb milestone before he was 3 months old. He was TOO big to rear face and TOO young to front face so we pretty much just didn't GO anywhere for several months! LOL I did make him stay in a booster seat until he was 5 but he's the same size as his 13 year old brother now so it's kind of ridiculous to expect him to be in a car seat at this point.

Tina said...

I am so happy to hear my Swedish safety car seat mentality reach our pediatrician. The kids over here are huge and they still fit in their car seat rear facing. (at the age of three).