This just in from yesterday--the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) now recommends that children should be rear-facing in their car seats until age 2. This puts a whole new spin for us Bunchers since it means our Bunch is now facing backwards, and we can just have to hope and pray that they are behaving themselves back there. No more looking back in the rear view mirror to catch those toddler smiles; now it might just be some bobbing heads with a few toys flying back and forth. Good times.
This is not new for me since our early Bunching days were in spent in Sweden where their kids ride rear facing until age 3 or even 4! The car seats are made differently and stabilized in ways that look like they also might be drilling for oil while restraining your kids. (Now that's a fun concept.) I often wondered how my Baby Bunching neighbor did it with both kids facing that way. How do you know what trouble your toddler's up to. Well, they also can put their kids rear-facing in the front seat (air bag disabled) so that eliminates that issue. I couldn't go this route because my Britax car seat at the time wouldn't allow for a child over a certain height to be rear facing. Here is a good resource for what they do in other countries.
This is only guidance and not a law set in place, but here's the scoop on why:
One-year-olds are five times less likely to be injured in a crash if they are in a rear-facing car seat than a forward-facing seat, according to a 2007 analysis of five years of U.S. crash data. Toddlers have relatively large heads and small necks. In a front-facing car seat, the force of a crash can jerk the child's head causing spinal cord injuries. [We admit it's kind of hard to argue with that.]
Car seats have recommended weights printed on them. If a 1-year-old outweighs the recommendation of an infant seat, parents should switch to a different rear-facing car seat that accommodates the heavier weight until they turn 2, the pediatricians group says.
We're curious what you think about this new recommendation. Do your kids like to face backwards? Are their legs scrunched up? Is this something you'll do or will you address the issue on a child-by-child basis?
*photo credit: Carseat.se--Rear Facing for a Safer Future.