Front Facing vs Rear Facing Car Seats-Good or Bad?

As a parent, you immediately have the urge to protect your little bundle of joy. It’s nature-it’s natural instinct. While you can’t cling to them as you drive, you can put your trust in a car seat that not only comfortably cradles your baby, but keeps them safe and secure.

With so many car seats on the market, choosing the right one can be a daunting and stressful task for a new mommy. Front facing? Rear facing? Which one should you choose, and how many car seats will your child need as they grow? How long should your child remain rear facing? Which ones will support a

Each kind of seat has its own set of pros and cons, and based on my experience, I can share how I successfully made my selection and gained total peace of mind while I drove my baby around.

Rear Facing Car Seat

A rear facing car seat is designed specifically for infants. Most seats will grow with your baby, allowing them to stay rear facing in the seat until they reach the seat’s specific weight or height limit. Each seat is designed differently, so it’s hard to say when the measurement limits will expire.

The “old” way of thinking has children rear facing in their seat until one year of age, or 20 pounds-whatever comes first. Recently, it has been suggested that parents keep their child rear facing as long as possible. The “new” way of thinking is keep kids rear facing until they are at least 2 years old and/or 60 pounds. Why?

The benefits of keeping a child rear facing include:

  • Added head and neck support in case of a crash.
  • A rear facing seat spreads out impact more evenly.
  • The belts don’t become a hazard because they are worn across the body properly.
  • Necks are supported when children doze off. Their body placement also remains cradled.

The cons of keeping a child rear facing include:

  • Hassel once the child is heavier/taller. Creates a hard to reach/hook space for parents.
  • Can’t see the child or address their needs once they hit toddlerhood.

The good news is that car seat systems can be used rear facing and turned front facing without having to purchase an additional seat. Some even turn into booster seats when the child is much older and ready to sit on their own.

Front Facing Seats

Front facing seats are solely purchased when a child has hit a height, weight, or age requirement. This usually happens at around the age of 18 months (depending on the size of the child) and all the way up to 3 or 4 years old. Front facing seats are never to be used rear facing. However, if you have purchased a convertible car seat, yours has been specially designed to convert back and forth, making it ok to do so.

Front facing seats are great transition seats that teach your child how to sit in a car properly, buckle up, and enjoy the views and privileges of being an older child in a car. It also helps transition them to a booster seat, which can be used around 40 pounds and up to 100 pounds.

The benefits of putting your child in a front facing seat include:

  • Easy access. Your child can literally climb in and out of their seat.
  • Easy to see, talk to, and help your child.
  • Easy for parents to set up the seat and hook the belt.
  • Most children find sitting front facing makes them less dizzy and they enjoy being in a car and going on longer rides more.

Cons of a front facing seat:

  • Belt must be worn properly or the seat won’t do its job.
  • Children can easily unhook their own belts.
  • If a child falls asleep and hunches over, they are without support and could be injured easily in case of an accident.
  • If there is an impact, your child’s head and neck are less protected.
  • Most front facing seats (especially booster seats) aren’t anchored like a rear facing seat is, so the seat solely relies on the use of the seat belt.

All children are going to face front eventually. I learned that really isn’t a rush and if a rear facing seat offers more support and protection, then I put my child’s safety over everything else.

When shopping for a car seat, it’s important to consider these pros and cons. Variations of different car seats can be purchased from both big-box retailers or specialty baby boutiques online. Based on my experience, your best bet is to purchase a convertible car seat so that it can be used rear facing first, and then front facing once your child shows signs of growth and readiness. This cuts down on costs and keeps your baby in a cradled, secure seat longer!

Setting Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Children

Are your children familiar with the concept of New Year’s resolutions? If not, explain to them that those are goals they would try to reach during the upcoming year and that they would have to invest some effort into doing it. However, tell them that the effort doesn’t have to be theirs alone and that you will always support them. And finally, through examples, make them aware that those resolutions should be healthy and useful ones. Here are some that fall under that category.

Be kinder to your planet

When it comes to preserving the environment, pointing your children in the right direction from their earliest age is essential. Let one of their resolutions be to do something positive for our planet every day. For example, teach them to always separate trash, so that everything that can be actually gets recycled. Plant a tree in your backyard together or create a vertical garden on your balcony with some fruit, vegetables or herbs. They could decide never to litter and to pick up whatever trash they can from the green areas around them, as long as their hands are protected. And finally, explain that this is a resolution they need to stick to not just this year, but for as long as they live.

Challenge general opinions

If you want your children to grow into intelligent and responsible people, they need to detach themselves from everybody else’s opinions and start forming their own. For instance, just because a toy comes in a pink box, it doesn’t mean it’s for girls only and that cars are only for boys. Also, the fact that a TV commercial says your child can’t do without something doesn’t mean they actually need it. Therefore, a good New Year’s resolution would be that your kids give valid arguments for anything they want or they think they need. For instance, if they want a jacket with their favorite cartoon character on it, a good argument would be that their old one is too small or worn out. If they only want it because everybody else is wearing it, tell them that’s an invalid argument and that the jacket they already have is perfectly fine. Teaching them to think critically can improve their academic success and provide them with a more realistic perspective of the world.

Choose healthier food

As far as wellness goes, the most important decisions you and your child can make involve healthy food and physical activity, which is why some of their resolutions should be about better food choices. Start with investing in a premium Bosch refrigerator and loading it with fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthy food options. This is important since the way you store your food determines how long it maintains its quality and taste. Once your child is surrounded by healthy food, instead of salty and sugary snacks, set some smart and fun resolutions. One of them could be that your child tries a new fruit or vegetable every week, or that you switch from supermarket granola bars to the ones you make together at home. Other resolutions might include drinking water or home-made smoothies and lemonade instead of bottled sodas, a bowl of fruit salad instead of cookies for their afternoon snack and using honey instead of white sugar for sweetening their tea or cereals.

Be more active

No child should sit and stare at any screen for hours a day. So, instead of spending time watching TV and playing computer games, have your child set a resolution to spend some time every afternoon playing outside. If their friends are busy, make it a family affair and play dodgeball or Twister in your backyard. Furthermore, clever resolutions would include trying a new sport and sticking to it for at least six months, cutting down on screen time and taking their pet for a walk for an hour every day. These healthy resolutions can help your child develop better, lose any excess weight and even boost their metabolism and immune system.

Be friendlier to others

Developing empathy in your children should start before they even know what the word means. There are many resolutions they can set to support this. For instance, once or twice a year they can donate their old clothes and toys to an orphanage or a children’s shelter. Your children can promise to do or say a nice thing to one of their neighbors or their schoolmates every day. These things can be small, like complimenting them on their behavior, a project well-done or even lending a hand to somebody who has fallen in the schoolyard, instead of laughing at them. They could help carry their neighbor’s groceries or volunteer with you in a local hospital or a retirement home. The point is that they try to gain better insight and understanding of people around them, which can build your kids’ character.

This year help your children set New Year’s resolution that will improve the quality of life for them and your whole family. And since it’s your job to always be there for your kids, help them go through with all of their good decisions throughout the next year and longer.

About the author:

Tracey Clayton is a full-time mom of three girls. She’s passionate about fashion, home décor, and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”