Rear Facing Car Seat - Springfield,GA

Updated on July 22, 2012
M.O. asks from Springfield, GA
12 answers

My son is 19 months old, 30 pounds and 33 inches tall. We still have him rear facing as recommended. My question is we are going to visit family and it's an 18.5 hour drive. I was thinking about turning him around for the trip as I think that's so long to be all crunched up like that. What do you all think? Bad idea?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone. My kids safety always comes first so we are going to keep him rear facing. I appreciate everyone's input!

Featured Answers


answers from Hartford on

He can sit comfortably rear-facing for the entire ride. I kept my children rear-facing until they were three years old even though the recommendations are for five years old.

EDIT: Child car seat safety advocates routinely endorse keeping children in rear-facing car safety seats for as long as possible. They recommend until at least 5 years old, and some people who are die-hard about it even keep their children rear-facing until 7 years old. There are convertible booster seats that allow this, so it's entirely possible. You can find this stuff out easily on car seat safety web sites and even YouTube.

It's not law, but recommended strongly.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

Keep him rear facing. they stay rear-facing to prevent internal decapitation. Kids necks are not strong enough until they are about 2 years old. Especially bigger kiddos. This would be even more problematic if your son has a bigger than average head.

More time in the car => more potential for a car accident => leave him rear facing.

The recommendation is until they are 2yo, not 5yo.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

This isn't about comfort--it's about safety in the event of a crash!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

While we have never been on an 18 hour drive, we have done 10. DD was fine. She's hovering around 32 lbs and her seat goes to 35 before I'm turning her around. Just stop and walk around for him just like you would for yourself. No need to turn him around due to length of trip, IMO. I would especially keep my child RF on a trip (we even had her RF all over the UK and she did a lot of sleeping on the road) because you're on the road more, more likely to have an accident, etc.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would leave him rear facing. I dont think kids mind being all crunched up as much as adults do. I'd rather he be as safe as possible as opposed to as comfortable as possible on the long trip.

There are certain neck/spinal injuries that young children are likely to get in the event of a crash - if they are forward facing - that they would not get if they are rear facing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

I would leave him rear-facing... Not only because of the safety aspect (which can't be over stressed...), but also because some children experience motion sickness when they get turned around. NOT a great event during an 18 hour trip! They are so used to watching things go away from them, that watching all the scenery zoom at their face can be too much.

I imagine you will be having plenty of pit stops, just make sure to let him get out and stretch during those.

I do know several children actually prefer sitting rear-facing... When you think about it, when you were a kid didn't you naturally prefer to sit cross-legged? It's actually a very comfortable position. It only LOOKS uncomfortable to us. (Unless he is actually kissing his knees... lol) Most toddler's legs don't actually reach to bend right around the end of the carseat, so they are stuck with their calves resting on it... not uncomfortable, per say, but I think cross-legged would be more comfortable.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dothan on

Turn him around ;) he will do fine, I have heard they are changing guidelines for carseats but he sounds more than enough OK & especially for such a long trip where he can enjoy the ride more with you as Jade said! Just make sure he is all in properly (sounds like you have that under control ;) ).

Have a safe trip!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I turned both of mine around at 18 months and just over 20 pounds and have had no problems with either. I think he will be fine.
Also, if you are going on a 19 hour car trip...I think it would be a good idea. That way you are able to interact with him more and he might enjoy being able to see you and your husband as well while you are driving.
Have a safe trip!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Where exactly does it say to keep a kid rear facing until age 5?? I know the recomendations have changed but your child will be fine if you turn him around. I think the issue is the really long car trip, not really what direction he is in. Are you going to try to do most of it while he is sleeping? Another issue with leaving him turned, at least for me, is not seeing what my child is doing. Is he quiet because he is ill or sleeping? You probably have a mirror but that was not good enough for me.

I wish you good luck with the long trip. My son, who is 4 starts with "What's taking so long?" and "Are we there yet?" after 2 hours. Maybe your kids are better at entertaining themselves during long car rides. I personally could not handle a car ride (even with no kids) longer than 6 hours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

They are changing the standards for car seats, as people mention, but in the other direction than stated by those who mentioned it. It is recommended now that the earliest you turn your child is age 2, and it is safer to keep kids rear-facing as long as they fit within the standards of their car seat, even if they are three or four years old. This is to avoid spinal decapitation, which the head is severed from the body internally because the neck muscles in a young child are insufficient to support the weight of the head in a car crash. Statistically, a child's body is able to support the weight of its own head in a crash sometime between the age of 2-4. A 19-month-old is not able to do so.

In many countries in Europe, the standard is 4-5 years for this reason. That is where the "5 years" quote came from, I suspect. In the U.S., the AAP standard was recently changed from 1 to 2 years, although I know some states still maintain the legal "1 year" requirement.

You absolutely made the right decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

I know you've already done you what happened post but I wanted to chime in.

I'd turn him. It's 19 hrs and it will be safer for everyone if you aren't worried about what he's doing and constantly having to hand him things. If he's turned around you can interact with him, if he's rear facing he's isolated for 19 hrs. Even if you DO stop and walk around a lot. He is still isolated for that long.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

I would love to do most of the driving at night but after taking care of 3 kids all day I can hardly stay up past 9 pm anymore!

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