Working in the car seat industry – this is one of the most common misconceptions to rear facing. It’s also one of the most common reasons why parents or grandparents move a baby out of their infant car seat too early.
Being a new mum or dad is hard work, and being a grandparent is also hard work. Often we think about how things used to be “back in the day” when we were young. Maybe we even think about the fact that well…we’re fine! We didn’t have/use rear-facing car seats, we sat in the boot/ the roof/ we ran alongside the car… and we are FINE. Right?
Thinking about how things used to be back in the day is the completely wrong thinking method. We did a tonne of weird things when we were young – things we think about now and probably wonder how on earth we are even alive. The same goes for car seat safety.
We’re simply only “fine” because we were never in an actual accident. If we were – chances are we would not be so fine today. Look at this crash test video for example – showing what happens to unrestrained children in the event of an accident, as well as what happens to a child sitting on your lap in the car:
Note that the baby seat is installed in the front passenger seat with an ACTIVE airbag. ALWAYS TURN IT OFF! A turned off airbag will not release and makes installing a rear-facing car seat in the front passenger seat perfectly safe!
Keeping the children rear facing is the safest choice you can ever make for your child. This is a fact. There’s nothing more to it than that. But what about those fears for children’s legs? As a parent, I am part of some parenting groups, just like many other parents – and the condition of the children’s legs in their rear-facing car seats do come up quite often.
Comments such as:
That looks so uncomfortable! I can’t imagine sitting like that.
Omg that’s dangerous!
Children get lasting damage from sitting like that!
And so it continues… None of these is actually true. Children don’t get damaged legs from sitting rear facing, neither are they uncomfortable and lastly – no they do not get any lasting damage.
On my mission to prove a point – I asked members of my Facebook group to post pictures of their children playing on the floor – take notice of how they are sitting. Look at their legs….
As you can clearly see, when we look at real life and take notice of how our children sit while playing and interacting outside of the car, their legs look very much similar.
Children simply are bendy and feel very comfortable sitting about with their legs all willy-nilly. Adults as well! I for one feel most comfortable on the sofa if I’ve got my feet tucked up near me and not while sitting straight up and down as I have to in the car.
So next time you worry? Just think about all this and consider putting some everyday life into the equation.
Also a final point: Remember that neither adults or children live in the vehicle. Neither do they sit locked in one position for hours on end without the ability to re-position a bit. How long a time do your children really spend in the car on a daily basis? It’s not long enough to cause any damage. It’s also worth pointing out that Sweden has had rear-facing car seats since the early 1960s, and the population is not suffering long-term effects from sitting rear facing.
Therese has completed the ‘Advanced Child Car Seat Training Course’ at TRL (Transport Research Lab) and is a CPD accredited car seat expert. She blogs about in-car safety, car seats, tips, reviews, giveaways and advice. She’s a mum on a mission to change the law and raise awareness. She is also a breastfeeding advocate and gentle parenting promoter who loves cloth nappies, baby-wearing, BLW and co-sleeping/bed-sharing.