Where does the safety of your child end? Almost all parents would agree that a child shouldn't play with knives, put small objects in their mouths, noses or ears, or run across the street without looking both ways.
But what about car seats? Again, most parents would agree that a child should be in one. That is where any agreement ends, however. Despite stricter guidelines spoken by the almighty AAP to rear face past 1 year of age, the majority of parents gleefully await the momentous first birthday to turn their precious baby front-facing.
Was the child deprived in some way by rear-facing? Of course not, yet parents feel this insatiable desire to give their kids all that they have (as evidenced by 12 year olds having cell phones). The feeling is that if the parent is facing the front the child wants to also.
That child could care less to look out the front window. The child could care less that his legs are bent. The child could care less that you want him to be a "big boy".
What he does care about is whether or not he will be killed or paralyzed if you are in an accident. So what if his legs suffer injury from rear facing... he's alive!
Besides the fact that a child is best left rear-facing passed 30lbs there is the issue of when to grow your child up even faster and put them in a booster or shoulder harnessed carseat.
Even more disturbing to me than seeing an infant turned front-facing is seeing a spritely child barely 45 lbs in a simple booster seat. What the heck?? How in the world does one think that a shoulder strap is going to hold their kid in during a high-impact crash?
Oh wait, what are the chances you're going to be in a crash anyways?? I don't look at statistics like that when it comes to the safety of my children. I may trust my own driving but I sure as heck don't trust the crazy drivers on the road.
Plus, I've seen my 45lbs six year old in a shoulder-strapped car seat. She leans forward, takes her arm out of the strap, basically moves around freely. If she can do that I know it's not the safest option.
That's why I ordered 3 Radian 65 carseats. The Radian 65 allows for your child to be harnessed in a 5-point harness up to 65lbs. There is also a Radian 80 but most kids outgrow that one by height before weight.
The Radian 65 is also narrow enough to fit 3 across in a seat. Very good for me since baby #4 is soon to arrive and things will be tight in the mini-van. The new baby will use the Evenflo Triumph we have for a few months then I'll purchase a Radian 65 for him or her.
Just one more note about commonly misunderstood car seat facts. They DO expire. And NO it isn't just a way for car seat manufacturers to make more money. It doesn't take much to understand this fact. Take a plastic toy and put it outside in the sun for days, weeks or years. The plastic doesn't stay hard or even the same color does it?
Your child's car seats are made of plastic components that sit in a vehicle for years. A vehicle gets up to over 150 degrees in the summer. As this occurs the plastic breaks down on a level we can't see. But during an accident when the plastic's integrity is put to a test is when the damage can be seen.
Most car seats have a 5 or 6 year lifespan. The Radian is steel framed and has a lifespan of 10 years.