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That Next Step Up

Mary has hit the next car seat milestone – she’s in a rear-facing convertible seat.  Although her infant car seat would have let me keep her in until she was 35 pounds – my back couldn’t handle carrying her anymore or the angle at which I had to put her into the seat.  So we’re onto the next step.

Convertible car seats are those that can be both rear-facing and forward facing. They typically have two to three things that have to change when you “convert” from rear-facing to forward –facing. In rear-facing mode we made sure that Mary’s harness straps are at or below her shoulders, the harness is still tight and the chest clip is at her armpit level. We also ensured that the seat was installed tight with less than 1 inch of movement from side to side.  And we made sure that the seat was at the proper angle and was installed using the correct belt path – both to manufacturer specifications. She will use this seat rear-facing until she’s at least 2 years old or reaches the weight/height limit for rear-facing use.  In Mary’s case – she’ll probably be 3 before she goes faces forward!

As I’ve shared before, the American Academy of Pediatrics, recently updated their recommendations to encourage rear-facing car seat use until age 2 or the height/weight limit of the seat. Rear-facing is about 5 times safer than forward facing because a child’s head and neck is better protected.

Of course, I want to see Mary’s face when driving and this does make it hard – but I have a peace of mind knowing that she is safe rear-facing! What questions do you have about rear-facing car seat use?

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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