The other day I saw a video on Facebook about a toddler that broke his neck in a car accident. He was properly restrained in a carseat. They said the reason he was injured so badly was because his carseat was forward facing. Most convertible carseats state that it is safe to turn your baby to forward facing when the reach 1 year old and are 20lbs. With my first few kids, I couldn't wait to turn them forward. It was always a milestone when they turned one and I was able to see their cute little faces in the rear view mirror. I must admit, I'm pretty sure none of them weighed 20lbs by their first birthday. I didn't know or understand anything about carseat safety.
I just had our 5th baby in February. We had to buy a new, bigger minivan to make room for 5 carseats/boosters. That got me reading about state laws regarding carseats and boosters. Our law here in Maryland states that a child should be in a booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4' 9" and 65lbs. Our oldest son is 8. My husband wanted to keep our smaller van and since we wouldn't be breaking the law, have our oldest son sit without a booster. At first I thought it would be okay. We aren't breaking the law right? Well, the more I read the more concerned I became. You see, our 3rd row seat in the small van doesn't have a shoulder belt in the middle seat. This is unsafe. Even with the shoulder belt our son was unsafe. The belt definitely crossed his neck and the lap belt ran right across his stomach. Both of these belt placements would surely cause a severe injury if we were in an accident.
Believe me, if we could have SAFELY kept our paid off van, I would have been all for it. But I just couldn't imagine letting my little boy sit so dangerously in the back seat knowing what I knew about carseat safety. I was able, after much debating, to convince my husband that buying a bigger van with room for 3 boosters in the 3rd row was the best thing for our family.
Our newest baby will be rear facing for as long as I can have them that way. After watching the crash test dummies in this video, it's a no brainer for me. Safer is better.
I have seen people comment about how ridiculous these new laws are. I have to agree to a point. I mean, seriously, my kids will probably be in boosters until they are freshmen in high school! But honestly, I don't really care. It's their safety we're talking about here. Possibly life or death!
Do you know what the laws are in your state? Here is a link to help you find out. Is your child like mine and lawfully able to ride without a booster in your car? Here is a website that will help you decide if your child is as safe as they can be in the car. Is your child SAFE in your car, even if you are obeying the law? Share with me your thoughts on this post! What's your favorite carseat for each age group?