Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Your car seat is how old?
Ever noticed the sticker on the back of your car seat? It's there, don't worry. It gives the manufactured date of your car seat. Did you know that car seats expire? Just like if your car seat has ever been involved in a car accident you aren't supposed to use it, the same is true with expired car seats. Generally car seats expire 6 years from the date it was manufactured. Why do they expire? They don't grow mold or explode. But technology changes. Well, technology advances. Along with advances the government is always changing its standards.
On another note let's talk about the switch from the infant carrier to the bigger car seat. The current AAP recommendation is that your baby ride in a rear facing seat until the age of 2 or when it meets the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer. That doesn't mean that you have to keep your 1 year old in it's infant seat, you can advance them to the bigger seat, just keep them facing the back. The AAP doesn't just make up a bunch of stuff they think would be funny to watch us as parents try to enforce. There is a science and real life situations to back it up. When it comes down to it you are the parent. It's your child and you are making the decisions regarding your babies safety. I just have to wonder at times if we are in such a hurry to have our kids grow up or to have that super cute car seat or to quit listening to the baby cry because it's sick of facing backwards. There are a million reasons we decide to turn our child's carseat to the front. But how many of them are good, truly good reasons. You know, selfless ones? How many of them are educated ones?
I'll admit right here right now. I was a carseat idiot. I made poor choices and thank Heavens my kids weren't hurt because of it. I didn't understand what I do know about why they should face backwards. I totally switched my kids to the front facing at 1 yr old. Even though my daughter was seriously too small for a front facing carseat. You and I as adults are fine to face forward. In a crash we are usually sent into a forward motion until our seat belt or car seat straps stop us abruptly at which point our head continues forward and then back in what we refer to as whiplash. If you've ever been in an accident you know that whiplash sucks!
It's not like that for infants and babies. They are very "top heavy". Their heads are heavier than their bodies, so, in an accident their heads are going to be thrust forward with 4x the force as ours would be. Now imagine them in a forward facing seat. I know right? Not to mention that their spine and spinal cord are different than ours in that the bones of their spinal cord are stretchy and flexible while their spinal cord itself is not. So....they can whiplash forward with little damage to their spine but the spinal cord itself is gonna snap. Paralyzed baby!
I get it. I really do. I know that your babies legs are getting longer and they are kicking your seat. I get that they freak out cause they can't see out like everyone else. I know that the bigger carseat is so weird strapped in backwards. I get all of that. Sometimes it's enough to make a mama down right crazy. BUT....now that you know WHY your baby should be facing backwards until they are 2 or big enough that they outgrow the length and weight recommendations on your carseat, do you still want to turn them front facing? What if it's that one time, that one moment. The person in front of you slams on their brakes and so you do the same. Too little too late and you run into their bumper at a pretty good pace. You have a sore neck and some bruises, but what about your baby? Kinda gives you that sick feeling in your stomach hu? I've got it right now just thinking about how stupid I was. Do everyone a favor. Keep the baby facing backwards. You're the mommy and you make the decisions. But I also know that you love your baby and would do ANYTHING to keep it safe. Just saying...........