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Car Seat Dilemma


We LOVE our Radians! We got an amazing deal on brand new ones – $100 apiece!

As always, the recommendations for car-seat safety continue to change. (How many of us rode on baskets on the floor of the car as babies because there were no laws or recommendations? =) The current law is that car-seats must be rear-facing till one year and 20 lbs. Once the child has reached both of these, they can forward-face. Sooooooooo nice. Do you know how much easier it would be to deal with three babies in a row if they were forward-facing??? But. The recommendation now is to rear-face till two years! That seems such a long way off. And then, to go even further, most of Europe recommends rear-facing till four years or even longer! Say whaaaaaaaa? The whole reason I bought our van was because of the built-in DVD system…ok, not really. Sort of. But till they forward-face they can’t even use it!

In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation was that babies be kept rear-facing until two years old or until they’ve passed the height or weight limit for their car seat. Studies have been done showing that children under the age of two years old are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing. Another study found riding rear-facing to be five times safer than forward-facing. (source) This video shows how rear-facing can help protect a child in a crash. Take a look…

So what did you do? Or what do you plan to do? Or what are you doing? Please give your reasoning or research to help a poor mama out! =)


  1. We rear face until 2 or as close to 2 as we can get. Their necks just aren’t mature enough until at least 18 months and can cause major internal issues. That being said, I am not going to chew out the momma who has her baby turned around at 1, before 1 YES but after 1, no. Its a personal choice then and even though I do not agree (and I assume they are well educated on the issue) it is not my child or my choice. NOW the people who have 4 and 5 year olds out of car seats or improper seatbelts or chest clips on their belly, that will make me crazy faster than anything else! Even rear facing they can be less safe if their seat belts are in the improper place or twisted, even having a jacket on and they can slip right out. There is so much more to car seats other than forward and rear facing. I would stick with rear for as long as they are comfortable and not complaining. I usually change them after a full week of whining about it because then it is obvious they know a difference! With all 3 looking back they may not even realize they could face forward. Just as a recommendation, I LOVE the nautilus for when they are turned around. Grows well with them for the rest of their time in car seats. Piper has until 30 lbs in her seat, I am hoping she makes it to 2 in it then she will get a nautilus too, which will make 4 nautilus’ (once I replace Leahs evenflo that is almost expired) in our van.

  2. I’ve not researched this too much, but can’t seem to find anything on if rear facing helps with side impacts, rolling, rear ended, etc… ? All the info i’ve found is on importance of rear facing for head on collisions. Does it make a difference safety-wise if 1.5 year olds (or 2-3 year olds) are forward facing/rear facing in other type of accidents? Any one else have any info on this?

    • Hi Michelle! :o) I believe it’s mainly for head-on. In my world of multiples, there is some evidence that a side collision can be made worsened by installing the seats three in a row. But I haven’t researched that to know enough. My guess is a side collision would have the same impact with either rf or ff. Now, rolling/rear-ended, etc….great question! If you find anything, let me know! 🙂

  3. Melanie Strecker says

    My oldest stayed RFing till 2.5 years but got new van with DVD so switched him. My trio is almost 15 months and still can’t FF neither of my girls are 20lbs yet. They will RF for a long time my guess is well past 2

  4. What a great post!! My older daughter rear faced until 3 years, 3 months and 3 days (roughly 28 lbs). Her seat could not fit rear facing with the twins baby seats in the car. I hated turning her, but it was the only way to fit everyone in….

    • Thanks, Beth! Wow, you know how long she rf down to the day! =) What a great mommy!!! It’s helpful that these are recommendations and that there is grace when something doesn’t work out, right? Whew!

  5. We did rear facing until age two and the upgraded the seats as the infant seats became too small.

    • Theresa, we only got to use our infant seats till they were one. :o/ They’re not massive, but they just outgrew them. Ok, and I was anxious to use my pretty Radians. :o) What configuration do you use with your four?

  6. We turned all our children around a few months after one. When my oldest daughter was one, they had not started recommending rear facing until two, so we just did what the law required. With the triplets though, we turned them around after 13 or 14 months…and I”ll admit it was because of the car seats and how they fit in my van (with an additional seat for their big sister). If it was a single child…I probably would have left them rear facing. We had a car seat safety person come talk to our MOPS group recently. The biggest thing she said that stuck with me was that you can always fix broken legs (for the families concerned about their legs being too cramped up backwards) but you can’t fix broken necks. That scared me. I don’t allow my children to watch TV in the car so that was never a factor for us…it really was just how the bigger seats fit in the van.

    • Elizabeth, I totally get that! It is a hard decision. One of the challenges we face is that my hubby is so tall he can’t comfortably drive with them rf!!! We were looking at me having to drive everywhere because they take up so much room! Then I found the wedges and I think that miiiiiiiiiiiiiight help gain a couple extra inches. :o/ And they never watch TV, either. We have made two 14-16 hour trips within two months so we used the portable players for those trips. It was a bummer of an expense, but I’m glad we could swing it so that they could rf. :o/

  7. Linking up from Multiples Monday.
    I had every intention to RF until age 2. I got some serious resistance from my mother. But I plugged along. We made it until about 18 months I think. I had one who screamed RF. Screamed, held her breath, puked. Toys, treats, DVDs, nothing fixed it. If we drove 5 mins, she screamed. If we drove 2 hours, she screamed for 2 hours. So I turned them. If we ever have another I will try to keep him/her RF until at least 2.

  8. I guess I’m in the minority — I have 5 kids (no multiples). I turned my kids as soon as it was legal because I felt the benefits of having them happier in the car outweighed the risks of being in a car accident. Quite frankly, car accidents are rare and riding in the car can be a daily occurrence. On the other hand, while misery on a car ride causes temporary discomfort for all (including mom), damage from a car accident can’t be reversed. So I would advise any mom to do what she feels most comfortable with (within the law) and not worry about what anyone thinks.

    • Hi Ruth! That is great advice! Thank you for sharing! I have been in my share of car accidents so I hesitate to ff them because of the target sign on my back (hehe). But I also realize we can’t live in fear of the unknown! Very helpful!

      • Hi Jennifer,
        If you’ve been in lots of car accidents, I can see why this would be a tougher decision than it was for me. As a mother, there are many decisions I simply have to pray about and ask the Lord to give me peace one way or the other. Then whether something happens or doesn’t happen I can know that I made a decision about it in faith and with trust in the Lord. I’m sure with triplets you’ve found this out many times over!

        • Absolutely! For instance, I feel no need to remove the crib bumpers from my kiddos’ beds – never have. =) I certainly cannot protect them from everything (as their bumps and bruises all day long attest to!) but take each situation as I come across them. You’re right – we must seek the Lord on some of these decisions, especially as the conflicting information (at times) can be so difficult to sort through!

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