Have you ever been with friends with someone but questioned their common sense and overall intelligence? I have questioned many friendships throughout the years, especially since becoming a mother. My life is busy and hectic and I simply don't have time to be friends with just anyone. I've weeded out several friends throughout the past year and half and I think I'm about to do some more weeding... apparently not everyone is born with common sense.
While browsing through a friend's pictures on Facebook today, I noticed a picture that immediately caused me to question the common sense of this friend. She had a picture of her 8-month-old daughter in a car seat that was FORWARD-FACING. I thought to myself, "Are you kidding me?!? Not only is that completely unsafe, it's also against the law!" Having been the victim of judgment, more times than I can count, I normally don't judge other mothers. But this is an issue of a child's safety!
According to Florida law, an infant under the age of 1-year and under 20-pounds must be rear-facing. To me, the law is in place for a reason, to protect the child. Not only is it law, but it's recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the manufacturers of car seats. While the recommendations should be followed, the law most definitely should be followed... no matter what. In my opinion, there is absolutely no need to turn your infant to forward-facing. Unless a valid reason can be supplied, then I think the rest are just excuses for parents. Is the car seat easier to install and balance while it's forward-facing? Yes, absolutely. Is it easier to get Bella into her car seat while it's forward-facing? Yes, absolutely. Does Bella enjoy looking out the window or watching her movies on the DVD player while she's forward-facing? Yes, absolutely. But is the risk of injury or death worth all these minor conveniences? Absolutely NOT!
Bella is 18-months-old and with the exception of a few times, she has always remained in the rear-facing position in her car seat. We transitioned her to the Britax Boulevard when she was 6-months-old because she out grew her infant car seat. She remained rear-facing because while she 21-pounds and nearly 30-inches long, it was against the law for her to be in the forward-facing position. When she turned 1-year-old, the AAP amended their recommendation for toddlers to remain in the rear-facing position until they turned 2-years-old. That being said, Bella has remained in the rear-facing position and will remain in the rear-facing position until her 2nd birthday.
Parents are often in a hurry for their children to grow up. But for me, I am not. Bella will remain in her crib (yes, I said crib) until she learns to climb out of it. Bella will remain rear-facing until her 2nd birthday, unless the recommendations change. What's the big deal if a child sleeps in a crib or sits rear-facing anyway? All I care is that Bella is safe. I think parents often lose sight of safety when convenience is compromised. But for our family, I'll compromise convenience any day to ensure that Bella is safe.
This has been your daily public safety and common sense announcement. If you'd like some more information on why toddlers should remain rear-facing until their 2nd birthday, feel free to check out an article published by CNN via Parenting Magazine regarding the issue: Car Seat Guidelines.
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2