It was not until his first birthday that I was faced with a seemingly simple decision: whether to keep him rear-facing in his car seat or turn him around to finally face forwards. Of course I'd turn him around. It was a rite of passage. It was an honor due him at his ripe old age of one. He'd surely enjoy the car more, be easier to entertain, and certainly easier to see in my rear-view mirror. Without a doubt I'd turn him around. The law states that at 20lbs and one year of age, I am perfectly allowed to do so. So I will. And I did.
Over his birthday weekend I had to swap the carseat into hubby's compact car because or Forester was full of lumber and drywall. He would fit rear facing (RF) in the Geo, but not comfortably, so I turned him around for our quick trip to the store. I was just certain he loved it. Who wouldn't after looking out the back window and seeing the world fly by for a year.
That afternoon at Levi's birthday party a number of mothers began talking to me about the benefits of a RF carseat. I brushed it off. Remember in the past how I've talked about our own need to "protect our own experiences", our own choices? This was one of those circumstances. In my effort to protect the decision I'd made, to prove to myself that I'd made the right one, I ignored them.
But as the night wore on I became more and more unsure of what I though was a rite of passage. While doing a little research the next morning I came to the following discoveries, the collection of which convinced me that keeping Levi in RF position was not only to be my decision, but also part of my duty to responsibly protect him.
- Motor vehicle injuries are the number one leading cause of death in children under age 14