Monday, March 21, 2011

Why my child is STILL rear facing...

and will continue to be until she reaches all max limits on her car seat (even then, if there is a better seat out there with higher limits, I would consider switching).

Plain and simple, I don't want THIS to happen to my baby...

The audio isn't the greatest, but the story that this grandfather tells of his grandson hits home.

It's not a matter of convenience, looks, or even what *I* think is comfortable. The bottom line is that rear facing is SAFEST.

As you know I was in a car accident on 2/11/2011. I was rear ended by a young lady going way to fast while exiting a shopping plaza. How fast could she be going, you ask? Well, I dont' know, but fast enough to do 5,300 dollars worth of damage to my car. Again, we were stopped exiting a SHOPPING plaza, a place where the mph is never more than 20 mph or so. That's a lot more damage than a mere fender bender. Not only was my bumper damaged, but so was my rear lights, my trunk, the frame of my car, the side panel, and my rear window was shattered.

Just incase you don't remember the picture, here it is:

I thank GOD, that A was not harmed. She didn't have a single piece of glass on her. She was scared. She screamed bloody murder because she watched the glass explode, she felt the impact. But it was nothing that hugs from mommy and daddy couldn't heal. It could have been a lot worse.

All the hugs and kisses from mommy and daddy would not have healed a spinal injury, paralysis, or death. The fact is, A could have had a spinal injury, she could have had surgery, she could have been paralized, she could have DIED. I could be the mother to a dead child right now. Extreme, maybe? Reality? Absolutly. It could happen. That's the point, don't we, every day, do things to avoid things that COULD happen. We use condoms and birth control to avoid pregnancy, it doesn't happen 100% of the time, more like 25% (and less for others), but we do something to protect against it anyways, because it COULD happen. We buckle our seat belts (not only by law) but because we COULD get into an accident. We go over safety information and buckle our belts in an airplane because of what COULD happen. We don't wear open toed shoes to factories and we wear helmets to constructon sites, not because it will happen, but because it might. I just don't understand why parents put their convenience over the safety of their child. There just isn't a good reason.

I left that accident minimally injured, but I was still injured. Since the accident, I've had a CT scan, X-Ray, and an MRI, 2 orthopedic appointments, AND 4 weeks of going 2 times a week of physical therapy. I am NOT getting better. I still hurt. My migraines are more intense, my neck hurts 24/7. It feels like it has to pop 24 hours a day and when I rotate it or turn my head from side to side, I hear grinding. This accident, which occurred at the exit of a shopping plaza has caused plenty of damage. It could have been worse, a car could have been coming down that turn lane she pushed me into, but one thing that didn't happen? A wasn't hurt because she was rear facing. I wish I was rear facing! Though I couldn't imagine driving backwards.

I cannot control when an accident happens, but I can control how my baby and myself are protected in an accident. I wear a seat belt and she rear faces. I would rather have people make fun of me, make snide comments, and have my baby bend her knees (which isn't uncomfortable for them at this age) than the alternative. What's more inconvient, having to rear face a larger child or caring for a child who's injured from being forward facing in an accident and is now paralyzed?

This video is in a different language, but they say a picture (in this case video) is worth a 1000 words.

This of course is a front end collision, but the transfer of energy is basically the same. Which would you want for your child?

Don't care? Still convinced that forward facing is better? More convient? Your baby is too big?

Research shows that the risk of small children being killed or seriously injured is five times higher for those sitting in forward facing seats than for those in rear facing seats. New data demonstrates that in a side impact crash (the most deadly type of collision) rear facing kids are 4 times safer than those riding forward facing.

Forward facing children are FIVE times more likely to be killed or seriously injured, KILLED or SERIOUSLY INJURED. Hell, people cut their child's penis (circumcision) for a percentage less than that for fear of a UTI. Rear facing is less expensive and does no harm to the child. Why wouldn't you want to do it?

Visit that site, there is A LOT of information there. Inform yourself.

I stole these from the above site (she's a pediatrician by the way). These are questions and comments I get all the time

I turned my child because...

"His/Her legs were touching the back of the seat".. or "They are too cramped up, she's uncomfortable..."

Well actually...

Many parents and even some pediatricians mistakenly think that a child should turn forward-facing when her legs touch the back of the vehicle seat, thinking that this leg position is uncomfortable and/or unsafe. This is untrue. In our experience installing 15,000 car seats, we've seen hundreds of children over the age of 1 riding rear-facing. Many of them are very verbal 2 and 3 year-olds and none have complained of their legs hurting. While your 2-year-old may look cramped riding rear-facing – as they sit with their legs crossed or in the “frog-legged” position – rest assured that they are both safe and comfortable.

Have you ever watched a 5 year old sleep in the car with their chin on their chest? Kids are much more flexible than adults and can sit and sleep comfortably in positions that would make an adult very uncomfortable.

Simply put, there are ZERO documented cases of rear-facing children breaking their legs, hips, feet, etc., due to their feet touching the back of the vehicle seat. However, since it looks plausible, this rumor persists. Studies show that forward-facing kids are actually more likely to have leg injuries.

Unfortunately there are too many documented cases of head and spinal cord injuries due to children riding forward-facing too soon. Modern medicine can easily fix a broken leg, but not a broken neck.

I turned my child because...

"He/She is a big baby. She's in the 90th percentile, she's too tall and I turned her early because she outgrew her seat... "

Well, fact is, buy a bigger seat. Does your child NOT wear pants because the ones you own are currently too small? No, your baby grows and you get him/her more pants. There are plenty of convertible car seats with larger height/weight restrictions that ARE affordable. Plus, a YOUNGER, not smaller, YOUNGER baby is fragile. Their bones are NOT strong, they will get hurt, despite their stronger appearance.

A 95th percentile baby may look stronger than his 5th percentile friend, but in a crash the bigger baby is likely MORE at risk if he's riding forward-facing. The rigidity of bones and the stregth of ligaments in the spine is likely the same in children of the same age, no matter their size. And a 95th percentile baby likely has a much larger, heavier head, which will pull forward which much more force than that of a 5th percentile child.

I turned my child because...

"He/She screams because she's facing backwards..."

Actually, they probably aren't screaming because they are facing the back of the seat. They are probably screaming because they are entering toddler-hood and they just don't want to be in the car seat. Your job as a parent is not to please your child or to put their WANTS over their SAFETY.They are safer rear facing. Entertain them by giving extra toys, keep them happy with a snack and drink. Play games with them, sing songs, play music, I think there are even devices that hook to the head rest so they can watch a video (not that I promote car TV watching, but hey, it's an option).

My baby is unhappy being rear-facing!
Rear-facing does not have to be boring! Older kids can ride quite upright so they can see out the side and rear windows. If there is a head rest blocking your child's view out the back window, you can usually remove it. By 9-12 months your baby knows you're there when you talk to them from the front - even though they can't see you. So you can calm and entertain your child with songs, stories - and for older children games of "I spy" - all while they are rear-facing. Concerned about car sickness? Volvo looked at several thousand pre-schoolers and found the same rates of motion sickness in those riding rear-facing as those riding forward-facing. Regardless of the direction your child rides, placing them in the center seat with an unobstructed view out the front/back window will help keep the nausea away.
Not to mention, the American Academy of Pediatrics have changed their recommendations to rear facing until at LEAST 2 years of age:

Bottom line:

I rear face my child because it is safer. Because I've been there, I've been in an accident where injuries could have been far worse. I rear face becasue I want my child to be safe, I don't care if it is harder to put her in the car seat, I don't care if her legs are bent, I DON'T care if she is bored. I care about her safety.

You could not and will not, ever, be able to give me a GOOD reason to forward face my 15 month old daughter. Plain and simple.

I pray to God that we are never in a car accident again, but the "what ifs" and "just incase," are enough for me.

Think about it, inform yourself, and do what's best for your child.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! I'm always a fan of advocates for child safety.

    Sorry about your wreck (and sorry I didn't already know about it, I've just been so preoccupied with everything lately x.x). Thank goodness you are both alive and well!

    Keep spreading the message. It's a good one. =) <3