We all know the frustration of not being able to see the baby when they are behind us and facing toward the back seat makes it worse, especially as a new Mom. But it is the best position for a newborn in terms of the safety aspect.
The Reason for Rear-facing Car Seats
Because of babies delicate necks and heavy heads, when they are involved in an accident, what happens is their head is thrust forward which, in turn, stretches their necks and puts a huge strain on their spine. If you have ever had whiplash then you will know what we mean. This can lead to permanent injury, paralysis or death for the baby.
If the baby is facing the rear of the vehicle, the jerk of a suddenly breaking vehicle or the impact of hitting another car or person will force their head and body back into the car seat, thereby lessening the stretch on the neck and their sensitive spine. This position spreads the force of the collision across the entire body vs. a front facing position, where the impact is targeted on the neck and shoulders.
In addition, good car seats are equipped to cradle their head and neck, hence those soft support pillows. Rear facing car seats also protect baby from side impacts better than if they were facing frontwards. This awesome video clip shows you the benefits of rear-facing car seats.
So When Can Baby Face Forward In a Car Seat?
There are varied pieces of advise on the actual recommended age to turn the car seat around and face forwards. Erring on the side of caution some say that the child should remain in a rear-facing car seat right up to age 4. Others say that at least until they are 2 or 3 years old.
A few authorities use the weight factor and state that baby should be more than 45 pounds before turning the seat or at least until they have outgrown the biggest car seat in weight and height.
But I Can't See Baby and That’s Nerve-wracking
We agree. And a little disconcerting for baby as well. But there are remedies to this. Here are a few options to make your next trip with baby a dream.
A Back Seat Mirror
So, you can see baby and baby can see you. Perfect!
Baby Backseat Smartphone Holder with Mounting Straps
To keep baby entertained whilst you drive, you can set up your smartphone or smart device in this nifty carrier. That way you can play a little video or story, which will distract them from not seeing you. There are many cool apps that cater for little ones and mostly on an educational level too.
Snack Tray and Play Travel Tray
Give you little guy some safe, finger foods on a durable, accessible tray. Nothing like food to bide the time.
Musical toys and displays
From Mozart to Black Eyed Peas, babies love music! The louder and merrier the better.
If you are the passenger mostly and your partner drives, you can remove the front car backrest and sit in the back seat. This way you are facing baby always. If you are a Volvo driver, they have it all sorted already.
When can baby face forward in a car seat? Safest answer is after 2 years old, and then when you feel you and baby are ready also works.