Rear Facing Myths
There are quite a few reasons why people don’t keep children rear facing longer. Many parents don’t know how much safer it is but some also rely on myths to turn their child forward facing. A few of the common ones:
• My child’s legs are touching the vehicle seat which is dangerous: Research has show this is not the case. It’s not dangerous to have long legs or let them hang over the edge of the seat. Forward facing children not exempt from lower extremity injuries either. “The lower extremity is among the most frequently injured body regions for children restrained by forward facing child restraint systems (FFCRS), accounting for 28% of their clinically significant injuries, defined as AIS 2 and greater injuries excluding concussions.”.
• All rear facing get car sick: Not true. There are cases with children getting car sick while rear facing but it’s extremely rare.
• My child can’t see out the window while rear facing: Children who have switched from an infant seat can see out the window just fine while rear facing
• Children hate to sit rear facing: Not true. A child who has been sitting forward facing for years and is then turned back around might complain. A child who has been sitting rear facing since the beginning rarely complain.
• I have to turn my child forward facing at 12 months, it’s the law: There are laws saying how long parents must keep children rear facing but none which regulate forward facing. A child should sit rear facing for as long as possible. Those are guidelines which more countries are starting to follow.
• My 14 month old has a strong neck, I can turn her forward facing: Not a good idea. A rear facing child is 500% safer than forward facing. It may seem like the neck is strong but a collision with a child who is forward facing puts tremendous force on the child’s head, neck and spine.
• My seat says I can forward face at 20 lbs. so that’s what I’m going to do: Not a good idea. Research has shown it’s far safer to stay rear facing. Difference in safety are largest during the first 24 months.
• Rear facing children are at increased risk for collision from the rear: Research has shown this is not the case. Collisions from the rear are rare, roughly 5% of accidents, and usually also less severe than frontal impacts. The guideline is that rear facing children are as safe or safer in collisions from the rear.
• Rear facing is a new thing with research just now becoming available: Not true. Sweden have been rear facing children since 1965 and the huge benefits were known early on.
• Rear facing is uncomfortable for my child: Older rear facing children often sit with bent legs which is not uncomfortable. Notice how children sit when they play, almost never with legs straight out. It’s very rare hearing a child complain about leg problems while rear facing.