I have often found myself in a situation where I have felt guilty about having my three year old son in a forward facing car seat rather than in a rear facing car seat. This feeling generally occurs after I have had a discussion with another mom whose child has been in a rear facing seat since birth. I’ve found myself feeling very anxious and perhaps even slightly uneducated when it has come to car seat safety – so I decided to brush up on my knowledge.
And, for those of you who may be in the same boat as me – with a child who is in a front facing car seat, I actually have some good news for you.
Did you know that a high end forward facing car seat may very well be safer than a 123 seat that can rear face?
As a parent, we always want to do what is best for our kids, yet sometimes it can all be quite overwhelming and confusing. But, sometimes we just need a gentle nudge in the right direction. Being a new mom is even more overwhelming and I recall so vividly being on the verge of an emotional breakdown when car seat shopping for my newborn. There was far too much to choose from, and I just wanted somebody with the correct knowledge to tell me exactly what I needed. My belly and myself did not do a good job at walking down the car seat aisle of the local baby stores because truth is, it isn’t all about the price – but about the tiny details of each car seat that is so incredibly important. Why didn’t anybody tell me this?
I had my son in a rear facing car seat from the moment he left the hospital until the day he outgrew it. With money being tight, I wasn’t able to afford a decent rear facing car seat. My heart sank. Now what? I had seen so much about the benefits of a rear facing seat for your kids until they were much older than what my son was at this point, but I just couldn’t afford it. I settled with a higher end front facing car seat, and oh how comfortable my little man was.
I made sure that our chosen car seat installed safely in our car and that it matched the weight, height and age of my son. Always be sure to try to have the seat you are buying fitted into your car and have your child sit in the seat before you purchase it. Most stores will allow you to do this. Some seats do not fit your car or your child, which is the first no-no! Having a seat that doesn’t properly fit in your car can be incredibly dangerous. So even if you can afford a rear facing car seat, make 100% sure that it fits safely in YOUR car. If it can’t install properly, according to the manual; it offers no protection in a crash.
A few facts for when you are buying a car seat:
1. The base of the seat should not move more than an inch in any direction when you give it a firm shake.
2.The harness height on a forward facing seat should be in line with or just above the shoulders.
3.The head rest should be easy to adjust, so that your child’s head and neck are always protected.
4.You should never put a child under 13kg’s or 1 year old in a forward facing car seat. They need to be in a rear facing seat designed specifically for infants until 13kgs, or 75cm. Their bodies cannot withstand a crash at any speed forward facing when younger because their neck is incredibly weak and their head is a huge percentage of their body weight.
I’ve sadly come across moms who tried to keep their baby or child in a car seat for as long as possible to try and save money, however, you cannot keep your toddler in their baby car seat, nor put a baby in a toddlers car seat because they have each been created for specific weights and lengths for the safety of your child.
When browsing for car seats, you may come across seats that say they are from birth to 36kgs. These seats are much higher up to allow them to be used for older children. What this means is that the child is closer to the roof of the car than they should be, which can be incredibly dangerous in a roll over.
If you find yourself in a situation, like me – where you really cannot afford an exclusively rear facing car seat, then you need to use the above tips to ensure that you find the safest front facing seat for your child.
Moms, what I am saying is that your child’s car seat safety will never come cheaply. But it is worth every cent of investing in the best car seat that you can afford for your child. And if you find that the your best investment is in a front facing car seat, like I did – then make sure that you get the safest one that you can find that is in your budget.
Do your research, and follow a trusted source such as #CarseatFullstop. I find that just because another parent is suggesting one or another car seat brand, it is vital to do some research of your own with your own child.
With statistics saying that up to 93% of people aren’t strapping in their kids… We ALL know somebody who is adding to that number.
You have the power to save a little life.
One share, seen by one person, who straps in one child, saves a life.
#CarseatFullstop. Every child. Every time. No matter what.
Please follow us on our social media channels and share them to encourage others to follow along too.
Sign up for our newsletter
If you have an old unused car seat gathering dust in your garage, please consider donating it to our very favourite NPO, Wheel Well. You can drop your seat at your closest Renault dealership and they will get the seat to Wheel Well. They will clean and safety check it, before giving it a new home with somebody in need for a small donation.
What kind of seat do you use for your little one? And please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
– One Modern Mom