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JBM2B

Rear facing, how long and why?

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JBM2B

Rear facing is often thought as something for "infants" or "babies".

 

This is not true. Rear facing is common for children until 4 years old in some overseas countries. The result of this long rear facing period is next to no infant/child deaths as a result of car accidents.

 

Rear facing offers a child greater protection in an accdient - the child rides the impact, by moving up the back of the seat, resting once the motion stops. Their head remains supoprted by the back of the seat at all times.

 

Car seats in Australia allow children to rear face until a maximum of 12kgs (for some children this is 9 months old, others as old as 18-24months). If your child is under 12kgs you should aim to keep them rear facing too.

Some car seats in AU only allow rear facing until 9kgs, this is not a good reason to turn your child.

 

A child under 2-3 years old is proportionatly 25% head in relation to their overall body mass. Their torso is well restrained in the car seat, and their legs are low enough down that they are not likely to suffer any major injury. The head, however, is the item that moves the most during an accident. In some cases children have had their brain stem stretch so far that segments of it have detached from the spinal cord. An injury that takes much longer to heal and can have life long side effects.

 

Children are not in any harm if their legs touch the back seat, they are not likely to break in an accident - but if this did happen, a broken leg is much easier to repair than a broken neck.

 

A rear facing child needs to have at least one inch (2.54cm) of hard seat shell above their head.

 

This page http://www.childrestraints.co.nz/rearfacing.htm covers some of the aspects mentioned above.

 

Ideally you should aim to rear face your child until 12kgs, or 12months old, longer if you can, as long as your child is within the weight limits, and has 1 inch of hard shell above their head. Keep this in mind when buying your next seat, or your child's first car seat.

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tanni079

Thats interesting i just clicked on your post link and read i turned my kids around when i thought they could hold there head up. They didnt like the car much so i turned them around so they could see me and be happier.

I wont be doing that again when we have another one. that info was interesting thanks.

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jomicabi

What do you do with babies who just scream when rear facing? I found I was very distracted by the screaming and that is dangerous too.

All my children hated travelling backwards and I have realised they probably were getting travel sickness because they were able to tell me as they got older that they felt sick in the car. My 19yr old still feels sick now even going short

distances.

cheers

Narelle

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KirbyCat
What do you do with babies who just scream when rear facing? I found I was very distracted by the screaming and that is dangerous too.

I guess it depends on whats more important, your child's safety or have a quite car trip. I know what I think is more important. All my kids have been rear facing until they reach 12kg, which is the maximum weight my seat manufacturer recommends. They cried for a while but got used to it, better than being dead or having a spinal injury.

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jomicabi

I wasn't being dificult I was asking a genuine question.

My child's safety was and still is important to me but I was sometimes so distracted by the constant screaming and I mean screaming not just crying that I think that could have caused an accident as well. My DD used to get so distressed that she would stop breathing. That is very stressful and gut wrenching especially as there was often nowhere I could pull over.

And just for the record DD is still in her 5 point harness baby seat at 4 and only 14kg on a good day and she will continue to be in it for a very long time.

cheers

Narelle

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fillesetjumeaux

That is definitely a good point, Narelle. I guess in that situation you have to use best judgement. I don't envy parents who need to make that decision, though. I've always been lucky in that DD1 didn't mind r/f, and the others were fine because they could see their sibling(s) when r/f.

 

DD3 is about to outgrow her seat r/f, and I'm gutted! I thought she'd last till 21m, but I guess she's taller than DD2 was. The thought of my baby being forward facing is a bit freaky! (I know, plenty of them are, but not MINE!)

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JBM2B

jomicabi

It may be that the child does not want to be so reclined - Sometimes you can make them a little more upright.

 

The child may have been squashed in the seat, or something may have been pinching them.

 

You can attach a photo of yourself to the seat so the child can see you, there are also mirrors so the you can see your child, and you can place soft toys (not hard ones) in there with them.

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KirbyCat

jomicabi I didn't mean to sound abrupt, I guess you can't see my facial expressions or hear my tone of voice on a forum. I was just saying that unfortunately the child just has to scream and get used to the car seat. No baby ever died from screaming, my DD and DS screamed like you mentioned and yes it is distressing but if you know they are not in pain and have a full tum and clean bum, then you just have to ignore them. There's too much at risk if you're that distracted when driving that you fear you may cause an accident. Maybe keep trips short and try to get someone else to drive so can sit with baby, I found that the mirrors and toys worked when the baby was a bit older, but as newborns they just screamed no matter what. I forced myself to ignore it until I could pull over.

 

Its just not worth the risk to baby's health/life to turn them around too soon.

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Guest Millipede

I feel your pain re children screaming. My DD2 was like that. she scream bloody murder in the car from the day she was born until she was turned (and even then she was still pretty whingy :rolleyes: ). Our situation was worsened becuase DD2's crying would also upset DD1 so I would have DD2 gaggin on her own sputum and DD1 whinging at me to get the baby to stop! :wacko: Oh and then I had the radio on to try and drown out the noise of both of them.

 

It is very very stressful and I found myself avoiding trips that were linger than 10 or 15 minutes and just basically feeling sick every time I hopped in the car. :(

 

I lasted until she was 14 months and then turned her, even then she was only 9kg. Going by weight she would have been RF until well over 2. But I just had to put the whole situation into perspective, accept a small increase in risk for DD in order to try and gain some independance again and allow my children to live a fuller life.

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idunno

DS1 was like that. He would scream and scream until he threw up and/or started choking - there was no way in the world you could ignore it and I almost had a few accidents because of it. I don't think some people understand how severe it can be sometimes.

 

We turned him at 4 months old - he had hit 9kg and the seat we had was only rearfacing until 9kg. The screaming eased up a lot and he'd only cry when tired (he still doesn't fall asleep easily!).

 

DS2 on the other hand was so peaceful as a baby, stayed rearward until 10 months old (when he hit 12kg). I would've loved to keep him there for longer if I could've, he would fall asleep as soon as we put him in the car.

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jomicabi

Thanks for your replies everyone. Going on weight DD should have been rearward facing until she was about 3 but I took the risk and turned her because nothing we did comforted her. I even sat in the back to try and comfort her and that didn't do anything either. As soon as she was turned it was all peace and quiet. To me turning DD early and taking the risk of her being hurt in an accident was better than risking all of our lives while she was screaming and choking and distracting the driver. Believe me I really struggled with the decision to turn but feel it was best for our family.

cheers

Narelle

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JBM2B

Please note that i made this post to help people understand the benefits of rear facing not to play good mum bad mum!

The "aim" is 12 months or 12kgs rf. Longer is beneficial - please don't take this as an attack on your parenting choices. I hoped to build awareness as it's something not too many people know about.

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2Bubs4Us

childrestraints, one way to stop/save these types of problems are to get our carseat RF until a greater weight! I had to turn DS at 4 months old around due to his weight being over 9kgs. I didn't want to but i HAD no choice as the seat only went to 9kgs!

 

IF there was a way to get a overseas carseat into my car then i would! Only for the safety of the higher RFing.

 

We got a DVD player and used that with DS FFing as it helped on long trips. I will be using one again this time when DS#2 is born and starts to become upset travling. (never thought of it with DS#1 who also would scream until we took him out)

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Ranger

I turned my DD2 yesterday.

 

She's 1yr,1wk old and I really didn't want to turn her :(. She's 11.4kg so still had a big longer weight wise but her head was within an inch of the top. She's 80.3cm tall.

 

I just wish the Meridian allowed use of the AHR whislt RFing.

 

Childresraints, I hope you are able to educate more people that are currently unaware of the safety side of turning children around early. I know there are always reasons why people don't but as long as they make an informed choice then I guess that's the important part. Until Australia changes the legislation relating to child restraints there will always be issues.

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JBM2B

I don't know how AU standards allow 9kg rf limits.

I would cry at the sight of a 4 month old being forward facing.

 

I am trying my best to build awareness - I cannot work out how to get people to stop turning their children "just 'cos it's easier" - any tips?

 

It annoys me that US seats RF to 16kgs, and while we sell the US seats in NZ, there are only a few that RF over 12kgs. And too many people are brand name dependent - SNS for the win.

 

I :wub: my US seat (not legall here btw) because it RF to 16kgs, and FF to 29kgs.

 

Maybe we need to protest AU to ban all cs that harness to 9kgs rf and ask the minimum to be 12 - 16kgs? And perhaps changing the written law to 12kgs or 12 months - 6 months is not good considering AU harps on about the safest standards in the world but allow a 6 month old to be RF. Some 6 month old are only 6kgs! Some 3 year olds are 12kgs!!

 

 

Gripe Gripe Gripe!! :rant:

 

She's 11.4kg so still had a big longer weight wise but her head was within an inch of the top. She's 80.3cm tall.

 

Could you try installing the seat a little more upright?

Pull it back slightly from the back of the seat, and push down on the leg area not the bum area, and see if you can get an install a little more upright? Worth a try. But good on you for keeping her RF to 12months! You were an extended rear facer (even if it was for a week only).

 

 

I have little cards that i had out at seat checks that "reminds" people to RF to 12kgs! (and a note stating that longer is fine too!) :)

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fillesetjumeaux

CR, I don't think much can be done to change people's perceptions. Whenever I have questioned the laws, or tried to justify why they should be changed, the following phrases come out:

 

"But Australia has the best car seat safety standards in the world!" (ask Turtles about where this one actually comes from!)

 

"There have been no cases of death resulting from head/neck injury due to premature forward facing."

 

The thing is, the fact that the rest of the developed world thinks that extended r/f is important, is still researching it, and has already to the point that their laws are vastly different to those in Australia, doesn't seem to ring any alarm bells to Australians (I am generalising, I know there are a lot of people here who have taken the extended r/f message on board). Why do Australians have to be so parochial?

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Lenats31

I can´t help but wonder about the same thing.

 

AUS keep rambling on and on about Aussie car seat standards and car seats being the best in the world. The truth is that none of it was ever true.

 

Also that foreign car seats will have to be altered to meet Aussie standards. What they seemingly "forget" to mention, is that Ausie seats will have to be altered to meet other standards the ECE included.

 

Especially if ANEC get things their way. A recent real life study of FF seats vs. RF seats carried out by them suggests that the 9-18 kg FF seats should be banned all over EU!

 

"There have been no cases of death resulting from head/neck injury due to premature forward facing."

This happens everywhere-else in the world - even in countries with tethered FF seats. I don´t think there is an ounce of truth in that statement.

 

Lena

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JBM2B
"There have been no cases of death resulting from head/neck injury due to premature forward facing."

 

 

Possibly because they state the reason as something else? Or leave out the "forward facing under 12kgs/12months" aspect.

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trudie17

Is there a rf seatwith the higher weight capacity that is legal in aus that we are able to access? I am looking at upgrading to a better car seat (another thread) and was looking at the maxi rider and the hipod but if there is something avail that is better(and legal) i would be interested to know. my ds2 is 2 years old and weighs about 11kg.ta

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JBM2B

12kgs is it for you in AU.

 

13, 16, and 25kgs for us here in NZ. Illegal to use these seats in AU sadly.

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Guest Millipede
"There have been no cases of death resulting from head/neck injury due to premature forward facing."

 

This is one recent australian study that demonstrates this sentiment.

 

http://www.qisu.org.au/modcore/CurrentBull.../Bulletin96.pdf

 

It was discussed recently in this EB thread... starting at post #26

 

http://members.essentialbaby.com.au/index....dpost&p=7035686

 

Oh and in that same thread a member says this in post #35

 

No child under 12 months has sustained a serious NECK injury because they were FF. (this information was supplied to me directly from someone in queensland who is an expert on test and real crash data)

 

So that is where that statement comes from... a crash expert at a queensland university/hospital. Perhaps one of the authors of the above linked publication?

 

Just thought I'd clear that up :)

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JBM2B

I like this statement in the above report:

 

"Current Queensland law20 requires that a child

under the age of 12 months must be restrained

in an ASA (Australian Standard Authority) approved

restraint, which for children of this age is

a rear-facing infant restraint until the child

reaches the weight/size limits for the restraint.

This may be 8kgs, 9kgs or 12kgs depending on

the restraint."

Page 5

 

After that, the child must use a

rear-facing or forward facing restraint until at

least 12 months old.

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Lenats31

Wellthey mght have begon to open their eyes to the benefits of rearward facing past 12 kg.

 

Look here: Taken from the study supplied by Millepede:

Some

evidence suggests that car seats should be

inclined and rearward facing as long as

possible, even if the children are heavier than 18

kg.

 

FINALLY! :)

 

Lena

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fillesetjumeaux

Millipede, I wasn't disputing the data (I remember reading the thread and the links). I didn't make that clear in my post. I guess what I meant was that because it hasn't happened, the implication is that it WON'T happen, whereas physics says otherwise. That's all.

 

And I have a confession to make: I had to turn DD3 around today. She was right at the top (way less than 1 inch) of her seat r/f. Sigh. She is not 15kg yet (her seat's r/f limit by weight).

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JBM2B

What seat is she in?

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