I'm just glad I have something to back it up with now. I got this off the channel 5 news website. I first heard of this from a fellow blogger but everyone else thought I was nuts.
BOSTON -- Experts are urging parents to keep their children in a rear-facing car seat longer than they might realize.
When Imani Stewart showed up at a car seat safety check with her 1-year-old son, she received some surprising news.
"I just found out that he has to stay rear-facing up to 35 pounds," she said.
Like most parents, Jacob's mom was familiar with the American Academy of Pediatric recommendation that says infants should stay rear-facing in their car seat until age 1 or 20 pounds.
But safety experts said many parents are unaware of new advice, calling for toddlers to stay rear-facing as long as the seat allows, which is often up to 35 pounds in most car seats.
"About half are turning them around too soon," child safety instructor Jonathan Otero said.
"We advise, if they can, stay rear-facing longer it will provider better protection," injury prevention program director Erin Christiansen said.
There's mounting evidence to back that up.
"Children who are sitting forward-facing have a 75 percent increased risk of serious injury or death compared to sitting rear-facing," said Dr. Lois Lee, of Boston Children's Hospital. "In a front-end crash, the head and the neck really go forward quite a bit, and you can image how they can get head and spinal cord injuries. If you're sitting rear-facing and you're in a crash, the car seat really protects the head and the spinal cord."
Many parents still question if their child's legs will be at risk of injury in a rear-facing seat. But safety experts say no.
"Don't worry about the legs. They're not going to break," Otero said.
"They do find ways to put their legs up or have them out to the side," Lee said.