I’ve encountered the incredulous questions of “why is she still rear facing?” and “when are you going to turn her around?” more than once recently. Said questions are uttered in slack jawed disbelief as my youngest child climbs into her rear facing carseat. Admittedly, although she is only three years old, she could easily pass for a six year old since she is on HER OWN growth curve at a whopping 44 inches tall and 43 pounds. I generally just smile and say, “She’s a maximum, not a minimum.”
The truth is that I’m hoping to do extended her rear facing until she’s four, or until she max’s the seat limit on height or weight, whichever comes first.
Of course, that generally results in, “but, WHY?”
It’s simple, really. It is 5 times safer for children under 4 years of age to travel rear facing. Why wouldn’t I keep her rear facing when her safety is increased by five times. FIVE TIMES!
The NHTSA recommends, “Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer.” The AAP recommends that children remain in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. See, minimum is age 2. My girl will get the maximum, because she deserves it.
Fortunately for us, the rear facing limit on the Diono Radian RXT is 45 pounds. Which means we are really close to making our goal of four years. The adjustable headrest helps us keep our tall girl correctly seated, too. The Diono Radian RXT is made with a steel alloy frame, aluminum reinforced side walls, energy absorbing EPS foam, and a five-point harness. Plus – it can fit 3 across in most back seats.
Here are a few more questions I typically field…
- But, is she comfortable? Yes. She does have to fold her legs in front of her. But, seriously… look at her smile. Does she look uncomfortable? She sits in her carseat the same way she sits on our couch, and trust me, she falls asleep in her carseat almost daily.
- But, isn’t it inconvenient? Occasionally, yes. Like when it’s muddy outside and I have to clean mud off the van seats. That said, I bought these nifty Diono Ultra Mat Full-Size Seat Protector‘s for each of the kids seats, and they’ve saved me some elbow grease.
- But, doesn’t she get bored? Nope. She can see both of her siblings and has a tendency to belt out whichever tune happens to be on the radio.
- How long will you keep her in a carseat, then? The short answer is, “Until I think it’s safe to be out of it.” She may be the size of an average six year old, but her bones and muscles are only three years old. Just ask my 9 year old. He’s 54 inches tall and weighs less than 60 pounds. He is still in a high back booster, because it is the safest option for him.
The long and short of it is this – extended rear facing is safest for kiddos under four years old. Our little ones are worth protecting. Show your love!
***Special thanks to Diono for partnering with me to donate a new Diono Radian RXT to our local teen maternity home.***