My first job was babysitting when I was 12 which transitioned into being a junior camp counselor at the YMCA and eventually graduated into working as professional nanny. When I became pregnant, I thought I had a leg up on all the other moms who didn’t have as extensive as a childcare background as I had, I imagined things might come easier for me.
I’m rolling my eyes at my past, naive self right along with you.
I was thrown into the trenches just like every other mother. Sure I had assisted one of my Mom Bosses with her pumping supplies every day, but I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what it was like to pump every day; multiple times a day. When Mom Boss came to me and told me I had left two full bottles of breastmilk in her cooler bag over the weekend I couldn’t understand why it was that big of a deal-couldn’t she just pump more milk? One of my families would tease me when I said there was no way I would co-sleep with my children, kids belong in their own bed after all. They just said, wait until you have your own.
Here I am now, with my own, and know exactly how precious that breastmilk is (there were many tears shed over that split milk) and a cosleeping two year old. What I am trying to say is that what knowledge I thought I had, well it barely touched the surface.
When I saw that the now recommended minimum for rear facing car seats was two years old or the reaching the height/weight maximums for your car seat I was pretty surprised.
This is indicative of the years I nannied, but I thought I would turn my daughter around when she turned one. I started to do further research close to her first birthday and saw the new recommendations. My husband and I discussed it with our doctor, and even after her second birthday, we have made the decision to keep my daughter rear facing until she reaches the maximum height and weight that is safe for rear facing.
There are a lot of choices parents have to make when it comes to the safety of your child and one thing that impacts almost every single child on a daily basis is car seat safety.
I’ve had a lot of questions from my friends (the ones without kids) and coworkers (whose kids are grown) as to why we have made the choice to continue to rear face even though she has met the first of the two minimums which is when parents often decide to turn the car seat around. For me, it really comes down to two basic things:
- The AAP recommends it. While I don’t subscribe to the idea you just have to blindly trust their recommendations, I have done my own research and do agree with this one in particular. My daughter has not yet met both minimums, at which point I will turn her.
- Provided that seats are correctly installed and you are following height and weight restrictions, rear facing is the hand down the safer choice and in the event of an accident can often save your child’s life.
Another online source I use is the Facebook Group, Car Seat for the Littles, which has many different car seat techs as members and are very quick to answer questions you might need.
If you have any questions or want to check your car seat to make sure it is properly installed, both front and rear facing there are a lot of local resources.
Many fire stations have one of the employees certified, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a list here of all Child Safety Seat Inspection Stations in Texas. Also, Children’s Hospital has a program called Safe Kids Dallas which works to reduce the amount of preventable injuries which includes doing free car seat checks.
Sometimes I do think about how much easier it would be to have my daughter turned around. My mother drove a Mini Cooper and we literally had to put Evelyn into her car seat through the trunk. I know that my daughter might enjoy car rides more if she was front facing. For me though, I find it a little easier to accept her screaming (and perceived dissatisfaction from rear facing, because honestly she doesn’t know any better) knowing that I am making the choice to keep my daughter as safe as possible.