Kendall is 20 months old and, by my best guesses, at least 31 pounds. That’s 8 months and 11 pounds over the MINIMUM requirements for turning his car seat around to face the front. So why, you may wonder (as many do), do we still have him rear facing?

Well, being a digital mom, I find that I come across all the latest studies, newest concerns, and recall notices pretty quickly and easily. It’s almost like they find their way to me, my inbox, the message boards I frequent, my newsfeed, my Twitter stream. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the things I’m supposed to be protecting my child from. It’s also easy to get caught up in a bit of the online hysteria that seems to evolve around these announcements (Hello, Maclaren recall of ’09. Is it bad I still haven’t sent in for that piece yet? All fingers are still safely attached to every one’s hands. I promise it’s on my list of things to do.).

Knowing that, I do try to take a step back, take a deep breath, and do a little bit of research before, for example, rushing out to get the H1N1 vaccine. I also talk to my pediatrician and ask for her advice since, you know, she’s a real doctor, not a Google one.  So imagine my confusion when I read about the safety benefits of keeping your child rear facing as long as possible (meaning up until they reach the MAXIMUM height and weight requirements for rear facing in their model of car seat), but didn’t hear the same bit of advice from my own pediatrician. To her credit, when I brought it up last year, she said it was my choice. That I could switch him now, or I could choose to wait. She seemed to not be passionate (or maybe even informed?) about the subject.

So I went back to the computer and looked at websites like the American Academy of Pediatrics, which states in an article released in April 2009:

New research indicates that toddlers are more than five times safer riding rear-facing in a car safety seat up to their second birthday…Toddlers should remain rear-facing in a convertible car seat until they have reached the maximum height and weight recommended for the model, or at least the age of 2.

Then I watched this crash test video and others:

By the time Kendall turned a year old, I told myself we were going to keep him rear facing as long as we could. As long as it worked for us.

As the months have passed by, I’ve been questioned by friends and family members.

“You know he’s old enough to face forward, right?”

“When are you going to make the big turnaround?”

And my answer has always been, “We’ll do it eventually. No big hurry.” Occasionally I’ll say something like, “Research shows it’s actually safer to keep them rear facing as long as possible,” but then I get looks like I’m some sort of hyper parent, one step shy of wrapping him in bubble wrap, putting too much credit in that crazy internet paranoia.

I also get a lot of, “He’s going to like the car so much better when he faces forward!”

Kendall has hated the car since day one. His colic was never cured by a drive in the car, unless it was a drive down a rocky dirt country road. To this day, he makes car rides miserable. I know my attention to driving suffers because of it. It’s become even worse as of late. Maybe it’s because of all the time we spent on the road over the holidays, or maybe it’s because he’s so attached to me that he can’t bear to be separated from me, even in the car. Whatever the reason, it’s dreadful most of the time we are driving somewhere together.

Also, as I mentioned, the boy is huge. It’s pretty difficult and painful to lift a 31 lb kid in and out of the middle seat when I have to fight to get him restrained, especially when he can lock his legs against the seat in front of him. It’s killing my back and my wrists. After a particularly nails-on-chalkboard-esque car ride two weekends ago, we made the decision to turn his carseat around, hoping that this was the change he needed to finally be happy in the car. I figured since he could now see me in the car he’d quit screaming for me.

The 4 hour drive to Austin last weekend started well. He seemed pretty happy with his new orientation, taking in the sights from the front window. It certainly was much easier to hand him things to keep him happy. Conversely, it was also much easier for him to chuck his Snack Trap at me when he discovered there were Goldfish in it and not sections of a clementine.

We left when we did that day in the hopes that his 2.5 hour nap would take up a good chunk of the drive. He napped for no more than 40 minutes, total. I think it was the combination of the stimulating new view, his legs dangling off the front of the seat, and the fact that he wasn’t as reclined as he used to be. His head kept bobbing to the front, waking him up. The drive home later that night (much later) was even worse. He was so tired, but it was obvious he couldn’t get comfortable. Plus, throughout both legs of the trip he screamed at me even more. Apparently now being able to see me meant he had even more motivation to screech until he got my attention (thank God Scott was driving).

That did it. When we got home I told Scott that if I had to listen to his screams regardless, I was at least going to do so knowing he was seated in the safest position possible. The car seat is turned back around, and will stay that way until he reaches 35 lbs (the maximum weight for rear facing in a Britax Marathon) or an inch from the top of the seat (based on this tutorial for measuring that).

Of course, I’m still faced with the giant pain in the ass that is getting him in and out of the seat, but I think that would be alleviated if his seat moved to the side of the car. However, I worry about side impacts. I didn’t know what outweighed the other in terms of risk. Was forward facing in the middle safer than rear facing on the side? And what about airbags? Is it good to have them? Should they be turned off?

I asked Christie Lasch, a friend and certified Child Passenger Safety technician through Safekids.org and this is what she said:

You can move him to the side. Side curtain airbags are safe to use with car seats in most cars. Double check in your vehicle’s manual, but it should be safe…otherwise people would never be able to have more than one child in a car seat at a time! The side curtain airbags fill much more slowly than the frontal airbags, so they aren’t as forceful, and they’re more meant to block a lot of the glass and debris than to actually absorb shock, or that’s my understanding at least.

The most common type of crash is a frontal crash, the least common is a rollover accident, but side impact is third at only approximately 11% of crashes. Frontal crashes make up 44% and rear 31%. So, while in a side impact collision, the middle would be safest, the likelihood of you being in a side impact collision is much lower than that of a rear or frontal crash. However, in a side impact collision, a forward facing child is 4 times more likely to be injured than that of a rear facing child, according to the study cited in this article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9916868/

We have yet to move the seats to the side, and may hold out a bit longer, but that does ease my concerns a bit, especially when it comes to eventually having more than one kid seated back there.

I know this information, this recommendation, is not mainstream. It’s not something my pediatrician, like many others, would have ever even suggested had I not brought it up myself. It’s obvious by the many comments I get that the vast majority of people are unaware of the safety benefits of keeping your child rear facing as long as possible, so this post is sort of my contribution to fighting the mainstream and passing on the links and information I found helpful in making this decision.

Please know that I’m not meaning to say that parents who don’t choose to keep their children rear facing are un-safe. I just think many people, who aren’t as connected to the internet community as I am, are simply not aware of the information out there and don’t get the opportunity to make an informed decision.

Here are some more links for your reference:

http://www.research.chop.edu/programs/carseat/toddler.php

http://www.childrestraintsafety.com/rear-facing.html

This is a pretty powerful YouTube video about an 18 month old who was injured in a forward facing car seat during an accident:

Please feel free to post any other links you found to help you in your decision to keep your child rear facing or to turn them around in the comments below.

Kendall is 20 and a half months old and 4 pounds shy of reaching his car seat’s maximum weight for rear facing. I’m looking into other car seats that may allow him to stay rear facing longer.

Edited to add the following about the concern of a child’s legs being too long:

I understand some people think children will become uncomfortable as their legs start to get longer. It was a concern my husband had, too. Personally,  I actually like to ride with my legs propped up on the dashboard in a similar position (obviously when I’m a passenger). That’s the way I sleep on our long car rides. I’m not concerned. Kids are also incredibly flexible, and more importantly, adaptable. What may *look* uncomfortable to us probably doesn’t even cross their mind.

As for the concern of legs being broken in the case of an accident, there have been no documented cases of this, according to CPSafety.com, and I’d rather worry about a broken leg than a broken neck.

This is another wonderful video that shows several pictures of larger, longer children rear facing. As you’ll see, they don’t look to be screaming from discomfort.

This is an online gallery with even more pictures of older kids rear facing. It can be done!

http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/RFAlbum.aspx

65 thoughts on “The car seat debate and how we came back to backwards”

  1. I am right there with you on the rear facing issue. Snapdragon is also a baby behemoth, but he’ll be rear facing as long as plausible. He’s already hit the limit on his rear facing only bucket and we are trying to find another car seat, so thanks for this post which I can show to spouse about why we need to spring for the seats which will allow him to stay rear facing longest.

  2. Thanks for a great post! I know this will help a lot of people. It even helped me–to feel more confident about my decision to leave my 21-month old rear-facing for the foreseeable future.

    I think many of us look forward to our kids being forward facing–not having to crane my neck to try to find her reflection in the mirror she had most likely kicked out of place, for one thing–and it’s a little disappointing when you hear that you actually probably shouldn’t do at 1, like everyone else does. I REALLY wanted to turn my daughter for a long car trip we took last week, but decided not to after consulting my twitter friends. Having read this post, I feel even better about my choice. And more prepared to deal with my relatives’ criticisms when we visit them in March!

  3. when we were shopping for convertible carseats for Harper, I assumed we would turn her around at age one. but when her birthday came and she wasn’t even 19 pounds, we obviously didn’t do that. after a talk with our pedi about it, she actually did suggest we keep her rear facing until the new carseat’s limits, not minimums, were met. we plan on doing it as long as possible.

    i think this post is awesome, Jill. i bet a lot of people aren’t aware of the benefits of keeping it rear facing. we do have H on the passenger side though. reading the info on that from Christie does make me feel better about that, so thank you.

    nice job mama!

  4. My Baby Evan is also enormous and reached the 20 lb front facing minimum at only 7 months. That’s when we upgraded his bucket to a real car seat and went with the kind that lets him stay rear facing until 40 lbs. Although my husband is eager to turn the baby around, I’m gonna leave him looking out the back window all the way up to that 40 lb limit.

    When we switched from bucket to seat we also moved him from middle to the side for several reasons – 1)the middle seat on our Jeep doesn’t have LATCH 2)the car seat is very wide and made our 5 seater a 3 seater and 3)wrestling him into the middle was a pain in the back and neck and arms and wrists (just like you said). I had the seat installed by a tech at the safety check out fire department holds and they didn’t say anything about the side seat being second-best to the middle.

  5. I say do whatever works for you. My kids have been really big and I had my first out of his infant carrier at 5 months because his head was half up out of it and he looked like a stuffed sausage at 20lbs. Also we turned him forward earlier b/c his legs were so long and unless we were going to have him put his legs up on the back dash, we had to turn him for leg room. If he doesn’t mind then no one else should. Thanks for the good info and good luck!

  6. I’m a proponent of extended rear-facing, too, and getting questions and comments from my family about it as well. We’re actually just about to finally retire our Graco SafeSeat, which goes to 30lbs. and 32″ – he’s well under the weight limit and about an inch away from the maximum height. But I’ve seen the very same links and studies that you’ve posted here… and I’m completely convinced. James will ride rear-facing until he outgrows his new Britax 50, which goes up to 35lbs. rear-facing.

  7. I did a blog on this the other day, because after reading many of your twitter updates I was second guessing my facing front dreams. I have the added bonus of having to put two more car seats in our car within a month or two when my twins arrive- and my son is currently a week shy and a pound over the minimum requirements to face front. While I have read many of these studies that rear facing is better- I really have no clue how I am going to tackle THREE rear facing car seats for the next several years as I will have 3 kids in 13 months. I may end up giving in to the front facing car seat in the center and the two rear facing infant seats on the sides. Short of buying a new car (which is impossible) I am afraid it’s the only way they will all fit!! Thanks for all the information- I will be keeping it in mind! 🙂

  8. Our issue with rear-facing hasn’t been that Max reached the weight limit of his car seat for rear-facing (which is 40 lbs.). It’s that he’s too tall. The height limit for rear-facing in his car seat is 35 inches, which he reached somewhere around 18 months, even though he was still only about 28 lbs. Even when he was still rear-facing, his feet touched the back of the seat with the car seat reclined back as far as possible.

  9. Hey, great post. I turned my 17 month around front facing, and then two months later saw the information that you saw and switched him back rear facing. He’s currently in a Britax that will rear face to 33 lbs, and then I plan to put him in one of the new Radian 80 XTXL seats. You can rear face in them until 45 lbs, and they have super latch which can use latch connections until 80 lbs. My older son rear faced until 18 months and 27 lbs, but if I’d known then what I know now, he would have rear faced longer too. In addition to the info you’ve found, I found that it was safer for a child to remain in a 5 point restraint as long as possible too, instead of moving to a belt positioning booster. My oldest is in a Britax Regent that will hold him in a 5 point restraint until 80 pounds. A lot of people say that they have to move their kids because they won’t stay in the more restrictive seats. I think that people sometimes underestimate their kids when it comes to what they can understand. When I wanted to turn the baby back rear facing, he threw a big fit and screamed and howled the first time we did it. So, I brought him inside, and I showed him one of the (not very graphic) YouTube videos with the crash test dummies. We talked about how the baby front facing “bounced around a lot” and “could get hurt” and how the rear facing baby was “cuddled safe in their seat”. I took him back to the car and started to put him in his car seat. He started to cry, but I said “Wait, do you want to be a bounced around baby?” He shook his head solemnly, got in his seat and that was that. The same thing happened with my oldest when I got rid of his belt positioning booster and put him in the 5 point restraint. He didn’t want it, but we talked, I showed him a video, and now he’s very happy to be in the safer seat. Finally, about the kids who let themselves out of their seats. My mother in law did this with my husband and his brother when they were small, and I did it as well. When they were old enough to try to unhook their seatbelts, my mother in law gathered up a stack of text books that weighed the same as one of the boys. She stacked them in the seat between the boys who were belted in as usual. Then she went to a big empty parking lot, drove about 20 miles per hour or so, and slammed on the brakes. The books, of course, went flying. After that, she had absolutely no problems with them staying in their seats. The same demo worked wonderfully for us too.

        1. But my almost-4 year old is only about 30 lbs and I cannot imagine him still in a rear facing seat. He’ll probably be over 6 before he hits 45 lbs. I think keeping kids rear-facing as long as it works is a good idea, but the maximums don’t always work either. Skinny kids who are average height will have trouble. And the constant screaming of my 14-month-old that resulted in my driving half-twisted so she could hold onto my hand was enough to make me turn her forward. Now I can focus on the road again.

  10. I have giant children and had to always move him up to the next step a bit earlier than I would like. He was 20 lbs by 4 1/2 months and completely busting out of his infant carrier. He’s now almost 7 and as tall as some 10 year olds. I chose to turn him once his legs were so long that they just went down way past the seat and I felt that having him FIT better in the seat was more important than the direction. Every kid is different and if a kid is able to be rear-facing longer and it’s safer then great. I can’t slow down the speed at which my kid grows, but it would have been nice to have an option to keep him in the safest position possible for longer.

  11. I totally agree with you on keeping rear-facing as long as possible. I plan on doing so with my LO. I can understand wanting to turn them around earlier than the max though…it is a pain to get mine in the backseat of a Honda Civic coupe rear-facing! Also, it would be so much easier to deal with his needs. But I plan to remain firm in my conviction. I am very glad that you posted this. I have met with so much mis-information about car seat safety. I have even spoken to people who find websites or talk to police men/firemen that disperse incorrect information about the safety of rear-facing and advocate turning front even before one year.
    I have actually considered becoming a safety technician so that I can help educate people (like that poor little boy…if his parent’s had known, he might have been just fine).

  12. I wish our country was more like Sweden. In Sweden, their carseats go rear-facing until 55lbs!! (http://www.carseat.se/) The kids cross their legs and don’t have problems riding with their legs like this. If you think about it, babies and kids are much more bendy, than us adults so what may look uncomfortable to us, probably doesn’t bother them any. My friends ask me, don’t you think he (my 20 month old son) would be more comfortable forward-facing? And I always respond, I would rather him have a broken leg than a broken neck! One of my friends was like, “Oh your pediatrician is one of THOSE.” And I said, “No, that’s just me. I’m keeping him rear-facing.”

  13. My son outgrew his infant carrier at 4 months and this issues was on the primary reasons we bought the carseat that we did. We have a Graco My Ride 65 which stays rear facing until 45 pounds. At 8 months B 22 lbs and 31 inches (technically big enough) and people have started asking when we’ll turn him. There is no way however that he has the neck stability to be forward facing. I also noticed that B’s hatred of the car was lessened dramatically when we switched him from the Snugride to the Myride because he can see out the side window in the Myride.

  14. We just installed our britax roundabout in our second car a week or so ago (still using the infant seat in the main car) and I was surprised to read this very recommendation in the britax installation instructions. It seems like such a simple thing to do to increase safety. thanks for raising awareness (and providing more information than an offhand blurb in the britax manual).

  15. I really have an issue with the first video you’ve posted (and I’m not being an argumentative hag, promise!): They are two different types of carseats and one is in the front seat. Am I the only one bothered by this?

    1. Ahh, good observation, Tara. I see your point. To be honest, it’s just one of many crash test videos I’ve seen on YouTube that have backed up my decision and I posted that one here since it was the shortest and most to the point, but I get what you are saying.

      Here are a couple others that are hopefully more “apples to apples”.

      This is a rear facing Britax
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIeA4vsthaE

      This is a forward facing Maxi Cosi Priori
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMFPSStXfqE

      Both seats are similar in style, and sold in the US, meaning they have both passed the same standards for car seat safety in our country.

  16. We have had Wyatt in the seat directly behind me since we had the carseat installed. I’m short, and therefore have short arms, and getting the infant seat (30 lbs before the baby) all the way over to the middle seat was pretty much impossible. I was really nervous about it at first, but the fireman assured me that it was fine, and that is where the LATCH system is located anyway.

    I’m with you on extended rear-facing as well. My goal is 2 years rearfacing, but we’ll have to see!

  17. I didn’t realize there was any debate about this. We pretty much do everything we can when it comes to safety, or what we consider true safety issues – we don’t put those gawdawful bumpers on every hard surface in our house. Anyway, I don’t really know what argument you’d make against it. I mean, wearing seatbelts is a pain. Putting them in the backseat is a pain. Everything about keeping them safe is a pain. 🙂

    1. I am with you on this one, Lisa. Of all the “mommy war” type of things that are out there – this one confuses me.

      If the choice is between convenience/supposed comfort v. safety then safety wins out every time. you’re exactly right, seat belts not so fun and maybe when they were first introduced a bunch of parents though, “whatever works for us, but we’re not using them”. can you imagine that line of thinking in this day and age? sadly it’s just going to take time for this to be the norm. time or something related to this directly happening to you.

      ftr – my daughter is only 20lbs at 16 months, but is a whopping 32.5 inches. funny enough her height hasn’t been an issue at all.

  18. My girl HATED the car since the first time…well, OK maybe the ride home from the hospital was quiet but every ride after that she’d scream since the moment we put her in her carseat and until we took her out.
    We got her a convertible car seat and things got much better but she still needs me to be next to her or she’ll start screaming after about 10 minutes.
    Like you, I’ve been asked a million times when I’ll be turning the seat around and people looked at me with that look that says I’m missing a few marbles…
    However the same people who keept arguing with me about the safety (they claim that if the child touches the back of the seat with her feet it’s unsafe) did turn their kids backward again.
    So who cares what they say and how they look at you, if you feel your child is safer and if what you do or say makes even one more child safer it’s all worth it at the end.

  19. GREAT post Jill. We’ve also made the decision to keep our 23 pound, 30 inch, 12.5 month old Piper in the rear facing position for as long as possible. Frankly I’d rather she break a leg in a serious accident than her neck or back, or suffer a brain injury due to severe whiplash. Thanks for getting this out there, you have so many readers it’s practically a PSA! And best of luck continuing to wrestle Kendall into the rear facing seat.

  20. Good post! We just bought a Sunshine Kids Radian XT SL so our (big) 10 month old can stay rear facing. She was very often super fussy in her SnugRide 32, and really close to outgrowing it by height, and it was in general, a pain for me to get her in and out. The Radian rear faces to FORTY FIVE freakin’ pounds and keeps the 5 point harness for front facing to 53″ or 80 freakin’ pounds! That oughta hold her for at least a couple of weeks, right? 😉 Anyway, so far after about 3 weeks, we love it! Easier to get her in and out, though my husband has a hard time with the buckles but I find them easier, she’s less fussy and falls asleep in the car about 90% of the time now which hardly ever happened before, and we have SO much more room in the back seat for us when we sit next to her. My only complaint is that we couldn’t install it tightly with the latch (super latch that works the entire time, no seat belts required after RF) in our Civic, so it lives in my parent’s Accord. Not a big deal since we live with them, but you may want to research how other’s have done securing it in your make/model if you happen to choose it. Thanks again for this great post, it seems to be something there isn’t enough wide-spread info on.

  21. THANK YOU. I recently saw a pic an acquaintance posted on FB of her NINE month old riding forward facing with loose straps and just about had a coniption (sp?). So I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately. I’m a big proponent of rear facing as well, and am going to use some of your links to give information to every mom I know.

    1. I feel you on that one. I lost a close friend after seeing a picture on facebook of her 7 month old (!!!!!!!) daughter front facing. I felt like I had to say something to her about it and she got very defensive and said that she had done her own research and it was not illegal for her to front face (!?!?!?!? Since when is that a good argument for child safety?!?!?). She also said she had consulted local firemen and policemen who said she should front face. The amount of incorrect information out there astounds me. I am SO happy this post exists, and is spreading the word.

      (When I was little, one of my friends, her mother, and her six month old baby sister were in a car crash with a drunk driver. The baby was the only one in good enough shape to survive to the hospital, but she later died in her father’s arms. If she had been rear facing…maybe that daddy wouldn’t have lost his entire family that night.)

  22. Thank you for writing this , I am so happy to see so many parent keeping their kids RF until they max out the seat.

    I have been lucky enough to have friends who are carseat safety techs and so this was info I had . That said I still got looks and comments getting my son into his RF car seat from the time he was 1 on!

  23. Thank you for posting this! I had no idea kids should be rear facing for so long or how important it was. I’ve shared this with some of my friends with young kids and they didn’t know either! Hopefully none of them are ever in accidents but if they are you may have saved a life.

  24. We will be keeping Peanut’s carseat rear facing as long as possible. She’s petite and still using her infant seat which will help the cost of doing this.

  25. Thank you so much for posting this! I am with you and plan on keeping Carter rear facing as long as possible. He is 14 months now and I have been getting questions about when I was going to turn him since his birthday.

  26. Thanks for posting this. Let’s see if parents will listen or keep making excuses.
    My son is 3.5 and still rear-facing. He sits with his legs propped on the back of the seat, indian style or thrown over the side.
    I too would rather a broken leg (even though there have been no reported cases of this happening from being properly restrained rear-facing) then for him to break his neck.
    Great Great Great info.

    I do hope you plan on buying a taller seat for your son though. He is so close to outgrowing the seat by height, but so young he could still benefit from rear-facing (since the neck doesn’t fully fuze until between 3-6 years).
    The Radian 80 or XT would be a great choice. 😉

  27. I feel like I need to comment (again) after WaitingOnTwoPinkLines said “It’s worth a few extra dollars to have a car seat that will protect your child”.

    I did a buttload (it’s a technical term) of research on car seats when we were purchasing a convertible seat. I talked to a car seat technician. I talked to my pediatrician. I talked to other moms. I read all the reviews and watched all the safety videos on the internet. I know all about rear-facing and forward facing guidelines. But the ONE THING moms don’t have to worry about is whether their car seat is safe because ALL CAR SEATS sold in the US must meet current safety standards – from the $35 seat to the $500 seat. ALL SAFE. The price difference comes from bells and whistles and brand names and ease of use. Don’t feel like you have to take out a car loan just to pay for a car seat.

    More info: http://www.car-safety.org

  28. Great post!! Lots of info. I went back and forth on what to do. Hubby and I debated which way to put the car seat once Big Sister met the minimum height/weight for being turned forward. In the end we did turn her around. Honestly, we do not have an exact reason for that. I suppose a lot of it comes from the fact that we did it with Big Brother and even though that is naive I am sure it played a part in our decision. My guess is we will not be turning Little Sister around anytime soon. She is tiny and so I doubt she will even hit height and weight minimum anytime soon. Thanks for all the info.

  29. I haven’t read all the other comments, so sorry if I repeat anyone.

    My son is the same age as Kendall, and about the same size. He is also still rear facing, but I do have him behind the passenger seat. I am dedicated to keeping him RF until he is too big, unless something big happens to change my mind.

    One thing that has significantly helped with getting him into the car seat has been making it more fun for him. He had gotten really bad about buckling his legs against the back seat so that I couldn’t get him to sit down. I started counting to three, saying “When I count to 3, you need to sit down. 1, 2, 3!” At first he resisted and I had to force him down. After a few times, he made it into a game and he will laugh and smile when he plops down into the seat. It hasn’t eliminated all of our struggles, but probably 90% of them. Maybe it’ll help you too!

  30. Thank you for posting this! I have been an advocate for ERF’ing since I first heard about it when Emily was just 6 months old.
    Both my husband and I am committed to keeping our 17 month old daughter rear facing until she reaches the maximum weight on her Britax Marathon which is 35 lbs.
    She is a peanut only weighing 17 lbs 6.5 oz so she can’t even be turned around yet! Some family members have questioned me when I am going to flip her around eventhough she is still under 20 lbs.

    She will stay rear facing until she reaches that 35 lb limit, even if she is 5.

    Thank you for raising awareness about extended rear facing.

  31. This has been a very hot topic in my mom’s group. We plan on keeping our guy rear facing until his lil bro comes (around the time big bro turns 22 months). If we did keep him rear facing until the weight limit of 35lbs, he’d probably be entering kindergarten lol (he’s not even 23 lbs at 18M)! I say do what you feel is best, but remember that some of those videos are VERY sensationalized. The probability of getting a car accident that serious are slim, so I like to keep that in mind as well.

  32. Hi Jill,

    Great post! My son is Kendall’s age (to the day!) and we just switched him around to forward face last week. His poor little legs were all smooshed up rear-facing. Does Kendall have this problem? We have the roundabout but I’m wondering if a larger rear-facing seat (marathon?) would give him more leg room rear-facing. Since Ben doesn’t seem much happier forward facing either, I think I’ll switch him back.

    My best friend is a pediatrician and during her residency she asked the chief resident about when to switch to forward-facing. Her advice was to keep them rear-facing to the weight/height limit, no matter what. Even if they’re scrunched and uncomfortable. She’d seem too many victims that would have been much better off if they had been rear-facing.

  33. I just came across your website…I’m so glad I read this. I am turning my 14 mo. old’s Britax back to rear facing TODAY!

  34. thanks for this. It has convinced me and my husband to keep our daughter RF as long as possible. I now also have ammunition to send when people ask me why we bother. She is only 13 months and already comments have started!

  35. Just wanted to add some info for you. We met with a Carseat expert the otherday they were saying if Rear facing and in a car with an arm rest the seat should not rear face and arm rest as that is very dangerous. It can actually injure the child. Also if in a car accident the seatbelts should be replaced along with the carseat as the fibers in the belt are stretched out from the impact.

    1. Good to know! Thanks for the additional info. Hmmm… there is a pull down arm rest in the middle seat of our Jeep where his car seat currently rear faces. That’s concerning.

  36. I have NEVER heard about the arm rest thing. Never once has it been mentioned in training, continuing ed, updates or at clinics.

    And we put rear facing car seats on the bucket/captains chairs in minivans all the time.

    I’ll ask the people who run our classes if they’ve ever heard of this, but I’m guessing it is not an issue, or no one would be able to have a rear facing infant in a minivan.

    1. What I think she means is the bench seats that have the pull down arm rests. KWIM? Not seats with arm rests on either side. At least, that’s the only reason I can see it being an issue. Please do look into it if you can!

  37. Thank you for this fabulous post. My daughter is about 8kg (17lb) and we haven’t turned her yet and I was starting to get anxious about turning because she still seemed so small. This post encouraged my husband and I to follow our instinct and be able to back it up with research. I am currently trying to work out how to import a rearward facing car seat up to 25kg but apparently anything over 12kg is illegal in Australia! Thank you for this great information.

  38. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this education. When my children were babies, there was no such thing as rear facing car seats. Thank God we never had an accident!

    Now, I have a 16 month old grandson. We were all so happy that he was now old enough to turn around and face forward!!!

    My daughter called me tonight, and asked us
    (yaya and poppy) to watch this video. Our car seat will be turned around tomorrow back to rear facing.

    Again, thank you. You will never know how many lives you just saved by this!
    Blessings,
    Gloria H

    1. You are absolutely welcome, Gloria. I’m so glad your daughter sent you here. You’re a fabulous grandmother for taking your grandkid’s safety so seriously.

      1. Jill,
        Thanks Jill, we just love that little man of our to pieces! The way I look at it, he is just as precious and important to me as my own children were.
        Of course, when we had our babies, there wasn’t an internet that could provide such great information. Gosh, how did we survuve back then? lol
        Blessings,
        Gloria

  39. Thank you for this post. I will be RFing as long as possible and since my daughter is nearly a year and still in her chicco Keyfit30 I don’t even have to move her out of it yet at a whopping 17lbs. She will be moving up to a RFing Britax Boulevard and hopefully be that way until at least age 2.

  40. Thank you so much for this article. I learn a lot from your article. That’s what parents should——think about all aspects in detail and keep their babies comfortable and safe.

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