The AAP updated their guidelines for car seats today. They now suggest that children rear face (look out the back of a car instead of the windshield) until they are 2 years old.
I posted a link to the Chicago Tribune article on Facebook last night. I was shocked at the immediate strong negative reactions. Why are so many moms against safety? People commented that their legs looked smushed and that their kid would have hated it.
Our parents didn't wear seat belts when they were kids. They survived. Is this evidence that seat belts don't work? Should we all demand that the government is crazy for recommending them?
Children's joints are different than adults'. How many times have you seen a kid sleeping in a way that looks completely awkward and uncomfortable? They like small spaces. Their legs will not be broken. (I've heard that there has never been a documented case of a child breaking a leg because they were rear facing. I can't find any proof of this right now though.) Besides, you can fix a broken leg. You can not fix a broken spine.
Just because you survived or your older children survived does not matter.
What should matter is if you were ever in a car accident rear facing keeps your child safer. 5 times safer. While you might be proving a point by switching your child forward facing at a year and 20 pounds, is that really a point worth making? Is the potential of that choice being responsible for killing your child worth it? No one is trying to control you or your child. They're trying to keep your baby safe. In a way that requires no extra money or effort.
Parenting is full of making your kids unhappy. Of not doing the "fun" thing. I think my mom told me when I was about 16 that it was her job to make me unhappy. Her job was to make me safe and unhappy.
Each parent has the right to make their own choice.
Just make it an informed choice.