So on Monday the AAP released new recommendations for how to use your kids’ car seats. My gut reaction is that they’re a little over the top, especially the booster seat recommendations. I have a 12 year old sister-in-law and she is more young woman than child at this point, which as an aside scares the shit out of me. According to the new recommendations, she could still be riding in a booster seat. I can’t say for sure because I don’t know if she’s 4′-9″ yet. As someone who remembers that age very well, I can promise you there is no parallel universe or beyond in which anyone is convincing an angsty pre-teen to ride in a booster seat. Had my parents pulled that crap, I would have walked to school. Or ridden the bus. Yeah, I would have ridden one of those yellow school busses that don’t even have seatbelts. Actually I did ride one of those busses because simply riding in the car with my parents was unbearably embarrassing at that age. I can tell you this, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a booster seat at 12 years old.
However, the recommendations are based on scientific research and as such I will be following them as a parent, pre-teen angst be damned. I am firmly entrenched in the better-safe-than-sorry camp of parenting. Luckily I have almost a decade to figure out my plan of attack for the booster seat. Perhaps they will make them cool by the time my sweet little angels are ready to make my life a living hell.
On the other hand, we are balls deep in convertible carseats. Much as I have just whined about these new recommendations, Dagny is still rear-facing at 20 months because we’re overachievers over here in The Gay Family. I plan to keep her rear facing until she refuses to ride that way because: 1) I can and 2) I would rather her break her legs than her head, neck, or spine. It’s just that simple. Head, neck, and spine injuries scare me a lot more than a leg injury. In the event of the unthinkable, I want her personality intact, even if her legs are not. Legs heal, brains don’t. I could go on and on. The problem here is this little blurb from the AAP, “or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat.” I take that to mean I could turn her around at 2 years old but if I wanted to be conservative she could sit rear-facing until she outgrows the seat limits, which by the way are 40 lbs and 4′-1″ tall or 16.75″ seated height. Dagny barely weighs 20 lbs right now. She is not outgrowing that thing for a looooooong time. I’m going to have to measure her seated height, but I’ll take a wild guess and say she won’t outgrow the rear-facing seated height limit any time soon either because it’s the same as the front-facing seat height limit for her car seat, which is designed for kids who weigh up to 70lbs.
It’s just really hard to swallow these recommendations when this is what my daughter looks like in her car seat:
Granted, she has never once complained to me that she’s uncomfortable. She frequently falls asleep in her car seat so she’s definitely not in pain or anything. Sometimes I cross her legs in front of her, but she always puts them up the back of the seat like this. So I guess I can’t really justify to myself turning her around before she’s 2 anyway. But it’s going to be very hard to resist that urge once she does hit that golden age. Especially if she asks me to. For now, I don’t think she even realizes there’s an alternative. Unfortunately, Bode will know when his turn comes around.