You’re probably already aware that it is safer to keep kids rear facing than forward facing, right?
A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age two are 75% less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing. The American Academy of Pediatrics now advises parents to keep kids rear facing in their car seats until at least age two… But preferably longer (until age 4) if your car seat weight and height limits allow for it.
One of the biggest reasons that parents (even those in the know) prematurely forward-face their car seats is that their toddlers just dont like it.
Friends will tell me about the epic tantrums their kids throw when their seats are rear faced. One even had to stop her car en-route to the grocery store, just to turn the seat around because her child would scream so hysterically she’d throw up.
I’d like to share 5 tips on how to keep kids rear facing for as long as safely possible
1. DON’T Forward face unless your car seat doesn’t allow rear-facing
It may seem like a no-brainer, but if your child doesn’t know there is an alternative, they can’t protest! It’s important that family members, babysitters and anyone else who may drive your kids, are aware of this strict policy… Letting your child ride forward facing – even once – lets them know there is another option available.
2. Sing along songs/ audio books
Distraction is key. Whether it be their favorite nursery rhymes CD, or their most-loved story in an audio book format… I find that distracting my kids on trips usually means I face less protest about being in their car seats.
3. Rear view mirror
Available at most baby stores, you can find a mirror that allows you to keep an eye on your child whilst rear facing. Even more importantly, it allows your baby to see your face when positioned well. We used ours to calm fussy babies, by making brief eye contact, and as they’re older, letting them play peek-a-boo!
4. Big Girl/ Boy discussions
I find that my girls just love when I sit them down for a “Big Girl Talk”. Big Girl/Boy topics can include all the serious matters you want to discuss with your child, from Stranger Danger to the importance of sharing, and how to treat animals. Why not also include a session on Car Seat Safety? During our talk I stressed how much we loved them, how people can get hurt very badly in car accidents, that we didn’t want them to get hurt, and the best way to stay safe was to sit in their car seat facing the back.
5. Make it a habit
Consistency is vital! Kids should not be given another choice but to ride rear facing in their car seats for ALL car trips. I find that toddlers lean towards repetitive behaviors and by enforcing the rule, they more often give up the fight.
Click here for more on the safety of rear facing car seats.
About the Author
Chantal Dewolf is a Durban-based mom of twin girls; Avalon Robin and Harper Grace… a.k.a The Twincesses. You can find her sharing their adventures and the cuteness of the girls over at The Twincess Diaries.
About The Twincess Diaries
Chantal shares the story of her life as a busy mom of gorgeous 3-year-old twin girls and their adorable reviews of their favourite things.