You’re probably already aware that having your kids in a rear-facing car seat is much safer than forward facing, right?
A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age two are 75% less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing, while other studies have confirmed that riding rear-facing is much safer than forward-facing.
American Academy of Pediatrics now advises parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until at least age two, but preferable longer (until age 4) if your car seat weight and height limits allow for it.
But one of the biggest reasons that parents (even those in the know) prematurely forward-face their car seats is that their toddlers just dont like it.
I’ve heard friends tell me about the epic tantrums their kids throw when their seats are rear faced.. One even had to stop her car en-route to the grocery store, just to turn the seat around because her child would scream so hysterically she’d throw up.
So I’d like to share 5 tips on how to keep your kids Rear Facing for as long as safely possible:
1. DON’T Forward Face. It may seem like a no-brainer, but if your child doesn’t know of an alternative, they can’t as well protest!
It’s import that family members, babysitters and anyone else who may drive your kids, are aware of this strict policy… as having your child ride forward face – even once – lets them know there is another option available.
2. Sing along songs/ audio books. Distraction is key. Whether it be their favorite nursery rhymes CD, or their most loved story in an audio book format, I find that distracting my kids on their trips usually means I face less protest about being in their car seats.
3. Rear view mirror. Available at most baby stores, the mirror allows you to keep an eye on your child whilst rear facing, but also importantly, allows your baby to glimpse your face when positioned well. We used ours to calm fussy babies, by making brief eye contact, and as they’re older, letting them play peek-a-boo!
4. Big Girl/ Boy discussions. I find that my girls just love when I sit them down for a “Big Girl Talk”. They get all serious, like they’re being allowed into the inner circle of grown-ups, and they seem to take the lessons handed out in our “Big Girl Talks” very earnestly. Big Girl/Boy topics can include all the serious matters you want to discuss with your child, from Stranger Danger to the importance of sharing, and how to treat animals. But why not also include a session for Car Seat Safety? During our talk I stressed how much we loved them, how people can get hurt very badly in car accidents, that we didn’t want them to get hurt, and the best way to stay safe was to sit in their car seat facing the back as it was the safest way to travel.
I found they appreciated being trusted with that knowledge, and I rarely have any qualms about them getting into their car seats now.
5. Make it a habit. Consistency is vital! Again, kids should not be given another choice but to ride rear facing in their car seats for ALL car trips. I find that toddlers lean towards receptive behaviors and by enforcing the rule, they more often give up the fight when they realize this is not something that is up for negotiation.
#CarSeatFullStop Every Child. Every Time. No matter what.