Thursday, July 26, 2012

Extended rear facing/ five point harness

I knew I was going to keep any child I had rear facing and in a five point harness as long as I could before I was even pregnant.  One day while searching the internets, I came across this site  Watching that video solidified my desire to have him in a five point harness seat until he goes away to college.  Okay not really, but at least until he hits the weight limit on his seat (80 lbs.) After all, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for children under the age of 14.

As I researched further, I also decided to have him rear face until at least age two or until he hits the weight limit on his carseat (which is 45 pounds rear facing.)  Now the AAP is getting behind this stance as well and has revised their policy on child safety saying that children should ride rear facing until age two or when they hit the weight limits on their car seat.  If you are interested in reading it, here is the full policy statement from the AAP about child restraint.  My husband likes to argue that we are moving him when he seems uncomfortable.  My reply is when you find some research to prove me wrong let me know and I will consider it then.  The research supports my choice so I am going to win this fight LOL.

This page has a great visual about why children should extended rear face demonstrating the difference in spinal cords/cervical vertebrae between young children and adults. According to the above linked AAP policy, "Infants younger than 2 y have relatively large heads and several structural features of
their neck and spine that place them at particularly high risk of head and spine injuries in motor vehicle crashes."  When you get in a crash, the child's head snaps forward which can result in internal decapitation and death of the child.  If the child is rear facing, they will be thrown into the backseat which keeps their spinal cord from being stretched to the point of rupture.  Watch this video to see the difference in movement forward vs. rear facing in the "child". 
This is another great website that has a ton of information about car seat safety, the benefits of rear facing, and the why's of why it is safer. 

As for why you should keep your child in a five point harness until they out grow their seat, the answer is simple.  Why would I not choose to have one extra point of attachment to the car in a horrific wreck?  If they are in a five point harness, they are strapped into the car seat.  The car seat is strapped into the car and usually tethered as well.  If the child is just in a booster and using the car seat belt, it is half the protection.  Again  here is a wonderful site with lots of information.  Their son died in a car wreck even though he was strapped in with the seat belt using a booster.  Other benefits to using a five point harness long term is it spreads the force of the crash to five points instead of three and it also keep the child from getting out of his seat belt or moving the seat belt so it isn't adjusted properly.

Destructo doesn't mind still rear facing what so ever.  He doesn't know any better honestly.  To him, facing backwards is the norm.  I drive an SUV so it is quite easy to let him rear face since it is a big vehicle.  It is harder in my parents two door vehicle with my Diono Radian RXT, but the Britax Marathon fits well.  No matter what even if it is inconvenient to get him in and out, his safety is worth far more than my convenience.  The thing I wonder about the most is how he is going to act when his friends are in boosters and he is still in a five point harness.  I have decided he can hate me if he wants, but I would rather him hate me alive than give in and have to regret my choice if God forbid something happen to him.

Finally the obligatory picture of Destructo modeling his big boy car seat (not the Diono which we use in our vehicle, but the Marathon which we bought for caregivers to use.)  I do recommend both seats honestly.  I will be doing a review (probably over the weekend) about my product recs for traveling with toddler.

So what are your plans for rear facing and harness use with your children?  Do you plan on going to the limits of your car seat or do you have a designated age?  I am always curious about others decisions and their reasons for it.


  1. We followed the letter of the law with our 1st child but moved our 2nd forward facing when he turned a year and was tall and heavy enough. We were even terrified to install the car seat ourselves so took both of them to our local police car seat clinic. Coming by to visit from the Finding New Friends hop!

    1. I installed it myself, but plan on getting it checked out just to be safe. I think parents are always more cautious with their first born because parenting is totally new to them.


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