Until my neck is stronger, rear face longer

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My ERF Story

My name is Veronica. I have two beauties named Tyler and Eden. I knew nothing of Extended Rear Facing until Eric and I discovered that we were expecting our first bundle joy in March of 2007. I immediately joined a pregnancy/parenting forum and this is where I first heard of it. After extensive research on the topic, Eric and I decided that ERF was definitely the safest option and we would be ERFing our son. The first convertible car seat that we bought him was the Evenflo Triumph Advance DLX. LOVE that seat! The only downside, in my eyes, was it only rear faces to 35 lbs. So next we bought the Graco MyRide 65, for my van, which rear faces to 40 lbs. Tyler is currently in the Triumph in his dad's car and the MyRide in my van. We made it to 3 years ERFing before he outgrew the rear facing height for both seats (there needs to be at least an inch between the top of the child's head and the top of the shell of the seat.) He will be extended harnessed as well. Eden will be 2 in July and is petite, so I see her RFing for a while yet in her Radian RXT!

^^Tyler, my ERF Toddler, we made 3 yrs of ERF!!

Want to talk about it?? Have a testimonial? Want to feature your ERF toddler on the ERF kids page? Email me: v@erfmom.com

Why is extended rear facing the best option for your toddler?? The simple answer is that it is the safest option! Most states have a 1 and 20 law for infant rear facing and those that do not explicitly state this say to follow the directions on the car seat. Every car seat requires that an infant be rear facing until 1 and 20. Well, what exactly does 1 and 20 mean?? It simply means that your infant must be in a rear facing car seat until he/she reaches 1 year in age AND weighs 20 pounds. This is often misinterpreted to mean 1 year of age or 20 pounds. Please, understand that your baby has to reach both of these milestones for forward facing to even be considered. It is important to note that 1 and 20 is only the absolute minimum that is required. Rear facing for longer is now the recommendation. The AAP recommends that your toddler be rear facing up to the rear facing weight limit of his/her seat. (There are a wide variety of seats with varying rear facing weight limits and prices, go to the car seat info page to find the one that is right for your toddler!)

Why is extended rear facing the safest option? Suffice it to say that a toddlers neck is not strong enough to withstand the impact of a crash when in the forward facing position. Not only is the neck not as strong as that of an adult, but the head also makes up more of the total body weight. Toddlers really are top heavy! When in a collision in a forward facing car seat, a toddlers body is violently jerked forward. That is, of course, until the harness does it's job and prevents the toddler from continuing on this path. The toddlers torso is held in place while his/her legs, arms and head continue moving forward. This violent motion can cause the base of the neck to separate from the spine, leading to paralysis and even death.  A rear facing child would be jolted of course, but the impact of the crash would be cushioned by the car seat as it cradles your toddler. The majority of injuries that toddlers have from car accidents when forward facing are neck and spine injuries. Toddlers are 532% safer when rear facing.

There are many reasons why a parent will make the choice to not extended rear face. None are worth causing permanent damage or death to your child! It is your job as the parent to do what is best for your child, this will be the first of many choices that may shape the rest of your child's life. Please choose wisely!!

As of 3/20/2011, the American Association of Pediatrics and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration agree that extended rear facing is safest. They have officially upped the recommendation to rear facing to 2 years.

NHSTA & AAP agree!