To Face Forward Or To Face Backwards–That Is The Question

by Debbie Twomey on December 6, 2012

Not all parents agree when the right time to change your toddler’s car seat from facing backwards to facing forwards. After what took place this past Saturday, I know what I think.
I have seen enough information to convince me that a toddler’s neck and shoulders are still too susceptible when involved in a car accident with any impact. I will not allow my toddler to determine what is safe—that is my job as a parent/grandparent.
Whenever I ask other parents when they think it is right to go from rear facing to forward the answers vary. A few agree to follow the guidelines and at 20 pounds place their babies face forward. Others feel strongly that safety is more important and keep the child rear facing until at least 2 years of age. Those guidelines are the minimal suggested and will probably be subject to change in the future.
For me, the most discouraging response I received is parents who decided what was best based on their baby’s reaction. I heard a couple say that their baby cried too often facing the rear and was now so happy to be able to see Mom and interact.
I have a mirror for McKenna to see me and I can see her. My belief is a one or two year old child cannot determine what is safest, that is the parent’s job.

I have also heard the argument that my generation grew up without car seats and look at us. (The jury is out on that one folks). I do not have the statistics but the rate of accidents involving young children must have been alarming enough to warrant intervention and the need for laws protecting babies. I did find this statement “Car crashes are the number one killer of children 1 to 12 years old in the United States. The best way to protect them in the car is to put them in the right seat, at the right time, and use it the right way.” (
Recent studies have shown that babies are “5 times safer" if they are kept in a rear-facing position. Five times is huge and an estimate I choose not to ignore. I have researched the reasons why:
  • Car seats absorb impact forces
  • Baby’s body parts are not strong enough to withstand crash forces
  • Adults tense in stress situations where a baby will remain pliable and their necks too vulnerable when in a crash
  • Baby’s heads are still large and their necks need that extra support that rear facing seats give
  • “Ride-down time” (time it takes to come to a complete stop) is longer and is important in reducing trauma to the baby’s body in rear facing seat.
Saturday we were headed to a craft fair when 3 deer darted out in front of my car. While my reflexes were quick, it was impossible to miss all the deer and one slammed into my side and front end. We were very lucky because 5 more followed immediately behind them fleeing the hunter’s shots.  Here is what slamming on the brakes and hitting into the deer looks like for my Mouse—McKenna is 20 pounds, I was travelling about 40 miles an hour at time of impact so the force was at least 400 pounds. Because she was facing the rear it was spread out and the impact to her was minimal. In fact, she cried out for a moment and then was more reactive to me than any trauma to herself.
If you are unsure what is in your child’s best interest, check out this video. Isn’t it worth more time in a rear facing car seat to give your child’s body more time to become strong and remain protected?
For me there is no argument. If I can keep her safer longer, then that is my duty and my choice. The time will come soon enough, for her to face forward in her new car seat but I am in no hurry. Miss Mouse will not decide that for me even if she were to cry in protest every time I put her in her seat. 

"I have dedicated my life to the care and welfare of children. I feel privileged to share what I have learned with you. I am also committed to continuously learning.  I will keep informed of the latest information in parenting children from newborns to teens and pass it on to all of you.”   I will also use that same passion to help you create a dynasty generate increases in your business with straightforward and specialized media managing skills that guarantee your connection and scope will grow. Keep up to date reading our posts and discover valuable insights that can make parenting and succeeding in the business of the blogger– the most exciting adventure. (Debbie Twomey)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ellen Barbagallo December 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I had my children when there were no carseats required for children and I am not sure, but may not even have been available.  We had  1 accident happen while I had my 2 year old in my lap in the passenger side of the vehicle.  We were hit in the front left side of the vehicle, which caused minor injuries to myself.  My son went forward and hit the windshield of our vehicle with his head and fortunately just ended up with a bad bruise on his forhead and no other injury.  He recovered well and I thank GOD for keeping us safe.
We never know when or where an accident can potentially happen.
I have heard that a child must be at least 20 pounds and 1 year old.  I would certainly use discretion and try to keep my baby in a rear-facing seat as long as the child would tolerate it.  Better safe than sorry.


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