By the law, every child has to be at least 1 year AND 20 pounds to be able to turn around to forward-facing. However, I, along with many many other mothers, want to extend it to 2 years old AND 35 pounds. We all feel that at 1 year old and 20 pounds is too young and too little. We want to raise awareness about the safety of the carseat. I have collected some good information and I would like to share with all of you.
Copied and pasted from baby-gaga.com
What seat should I use?
~ Always use a rear facing seat. The bare minimum to turn a child forward facing is 1 year AND 20 pounds. Check your seat however, they all have different height and weight minimums to turn forward. You MUST follow the manufacturers instructions, failure to do so can result the seat not working properly because it has not been tested for anything under/over these limits.
~ You should not use products that did not come with the seat. Bundle me's, strap covers and head huggers are considered aftermarket products. They are not crash tested, contrary to what the package says, there is no standards they have to adhere to. Like snowsuits and puffy jackets, these products can give the illusion of a tight harness. In a crash, they can compress and make the straps too loose.
~ Rear facing as long as your convertible allows is 5 times safer than turning forward facing right at 1 year AND 20 pounds. Up until their spinal bones fully ossify between age 3 and 6, young children are at significantly increased risk of spinal injuries, possibly leading to paralysis or even death, when forward facing in a vehicle. Research has also shown rear facing to offer significantly improved protection over forward facing in side-impact accidents.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended rear facing to the limits since 2002.
More information on rear facing and why it is safer:
PLEASE DO WATCH THESE VIDEOS!!!
But, my child's feet are touching the vehicle's seat, isn't this dangerous/uncomfortable?
~ There are no documented cases of a child's legs breaking from touching the seat while rear facing.
~ Kids are notoriously bendy, they can sit indian style, frog style, hang their legs over the side or put them up the seat back. What looks uncomfortable to us, is not for them.
Photos of older kids, riding comfortably rear facing:
REMEMBER: EVERY step "up" in car seats is actually a step down in safety.
~ If you do decide to turn your toddler forward facing, make sure to still follow the basic rules listed above. You can also use the top tether anchor to help reduce head excursion(flying forward) in a crash.
~ A forward facing seat is outgrown by 2 factors, when the child has hit the weight limit, or when their shoulders go above the top harness slot. Most seats are outgrown by height first.
Here's my little Leilany STILL rear facing!