Thursday, July 10, 2008

car seat stuff

Before Kiernan was born I spent a lot of time agonizing about not having the inclination to do real research on what the best everything I should get was. So, I took the easy way out and went to the specialty shop in town and had a 1.5 hour conversation with a very knowledgeable staff person about the pros and cons of a LOT of different car seats and strollers. In the end I felt very comfortable with our choices.

We chose the Graco 30 lb bucket, since most kids outgrow the 20lb bucket before they turn one and are allowed to be turned front facing. This, we thought, would avoid us having to have one of the mondo car seats facing backwards and leaving the person in the front seat with little to no room. I highly recommend this car seat for all of those reasons btw - being able to transport the bucket with sleeping baby is FAR more convenient than having to get them in and out of the bigger seat - hear that pregnant friends? ;)

What we didn't bank on was Kman being such a tiny guy... by one he hadn't hit 20 lbs, in fact I believe it took him until almost 17 months to hit it. We only switched him out of the bucket when his big pouffy snowsuit wouldn't fit into the straps anymore and now that it's summer he could probably fit back into it again if we wanted him to :)

But all of this is just an introduction to what I really want to talk about - which is that Kiernan, at 22 months, and in his big car seat, still sits rear facing (so ha ha on us since we're still sitting squished in the front seat in front of a big car seat ;). And I feel like I spend a lot of time justifying/defending that decision...

When K was about 13 months old we did a baby show for Apples'n'Oranges and they were doing car seat clinics. I sent Eric over to take part and he came back with enormous amounts of information - most importantly that your child should stay rear facing as long as possible - ideally up to 30 lbs. And they really convinced him that this was what you should be doing, because until a kid weighs 30 lbs they don't have the same strength in their body to withstand the impact of a collision facing forward - facing backwards the seat takes on most of the impact. They also told him that it didn't matter if their feet touched the back seat - it was still much safer that way.

Kiernan is somewhere in the 23-24lb range now - so he's big enough to legally be facing forward. But for his safety, we've chosen to have him continue to sit backwards - although we've agreed that by 2 we'll probably turn him around. What did you do? What would you do? Do you think people question me to justify why they turned their kid around as opposed to thinking we're weird? Do you think I'm being overly sensitive and they're probably just being curious? ;)


Sally said...

I'm so glad you made this post. I work for a company that is constantly telling parents to keep kids rear-facing as long as possible. You absolutely made the right decision. Some people worry that they're making their kid too much of a baby by keeping them rear-facing for so long, but so long as they can sit in that bucket, you're keeping them as safe as possible. The next conflict you'll face is how long to keep them in a 5-point harness forward-facing. As with rear-facing, keep them in that harness as long as you can. There's some great seats out that have forward-facing harness limits of 80 lbs (the Sunshine Kids Radian 80 is one). These are generally more expensive, but since your kid will be using them until they graduate to a belt-positioning booster, you'll get years of use out of them. Again, thanks so much for making this post. Parents everywhere should follow your example.

Anonymous said...

I think that poeple are nosey, and if they are sitting in the seat in front of him and his seat is causing them to be squished, then they are also complainy. I think that you need to do what you feel is right for your child, and the safer the better. Also, stop justifying your decisions to other people. Here's a possible answer: "Because that's how we decided to do it." THE END.

TheAngelForever said...

My youngest son just turned one two months ago. He was easily over 20 pounds at that point. We toyed with keeping him turned around longer, but he was getting quite uncomfortable. His legs are very long and he was hitting the seat in our van too much. I know it likely would have been better for him, but I worried about him the way he was. He liked being backward to talk to his big brother, but he also loves being able to see the front seat now.

As parents I think there are always questions in our mind about what to do. Thankfully each child and situation is different and only we as the parents know what is best for our children.

Glad I found your blog via BlogHer :)

Shannon said...

We were very pro-backwards here too. My kids are tiny (ha ha - you've seen them!) and my four year old is 32 pounds and my almost 3-year old is 26 pounds. I just wrote a post about car seats today too, b/c we bought the Britax Frontier for Peter (4 years) and plan on keeping him in the five point harness for a long time, even though other kids his age are in plain booster seats. He is nowhere near 40 pounds and I'm not comfortable moving him yet.

But good advice on the infant carrier. Leah is almost out of hers (weight limit is 20 lbs or 26 inches, she is close to both!) b/c she is soooooo much chunkier than her brothers . . . 18 pounds and long too. We are likely putting her in the "big" seat in the next week or two - sad days for us when we kiss that little bucket goodbye ;-)

Jenn said...

G. hit the 20 lb mark at 7 months, and we tearfully kissed the bucket goodbye. We turned him around at a year, because we literally could not sit in the front seat with him rear facing in the back. If I had a kid that wasn't such a heavyweight (um, and a bigger car!) I'd have probably left him rear facing longer.

I think the fact that you have to justify it to people is crazy - I bet 9 out of 10 of them don't even have their seat installed properly, so they have no right judging you for keeping Keirnan a little bit safer for a little bit longer!!

Jenn said...

Oops...totally mis-spelled Kiernan's name there...sorry!

Some kind of Wondermom said...

I turned Joel around at 20 lbs... I can totally see it's important to keep them rear facing for so long. I'm not even sure why I did it - but once it was done we just left it like that. There's so much conflicting info out there, sometimes it's hard to know who/what to listen to.

BTW- had I know the Peg Perego car seat was going to be so heavy, and such a pain not to be able to install it in other people's cars without the base I would have gone for the Graco too.

Adria Sha said...

I can't remember what age my daughter was when we finally turned her forward facing, but it was much past a year. She has always been rather petite and didn't mind facing backward.

Lara said...

I dont want to make anyone feel like I'm criticizing them for turning their kids around at 20lbs. That's the legal weight to turn kids around and the way the buckets are built it makes a lot of sense. Also, K doesn't complain in any way that makes us think sitting that way is bothering him (I've heard other parents say their kids were very unhappy backwards). I just don't like explaining why he's still backwards - and really, I should probably just get over it ;)

As for the bucket - the 30lb one was really heavy too. I think they all are. I just liked that we could use it like a permanent car seat and strap him in and out, but if he was ever asleep and we didn't want to risk waking him, we still had the option of popping the seat out and bringing it inside with us.

Jenn said...

I got rid of the bucket seat when Jacob was about 5 months old. It became too cumbersome and heavy to carry around. We turned him forward facing at 1. He was about 21 or 22 pounds. I would have liked to have waited, but car rides were not fun with Jacob. He screamed all the time. He was happy once he was forward facing.

I think I am going to switch Zachary around at 1 too. He was already over 21 pounds at his 8.5 appointment.

Katie Valentine said...

We switched MlleL at 1 year. (I guess she would have just crossed the 20 lb mark?) We could, I guess, be switching MasterP right now! But we'll use the bigger seat and make it rear facing.

It's just that MlleL is so tall that she would have been all crunched up. But she is still in a 5 point harness, and will continue to be forever (still only 31 lbs.)

And I'm guilty of asking you about the K man. I was just curious. Not asking for a justification or anything - just noticed that he was still rear facing and asked - hope it wasn't too, too offensive!!