No matter what situation we're in, as parents, we always want to do what's best for our kids. The decisions we make on a daily basis revolve around the fact that we want our children to be healthy, happy, and, above all, safe. And that definitely includes cars seat safety. My husband and I kept our daughter rear-facing in her car seat past the age of 2. She's petite for her age and was just fine looking backward, and since we knew it's a much safer option, we were in no rush to turn her.
Yes, broken legs would be awful, but I would take them any day over a head injury.
But the older my daughter got, the more I questioned my decision to leave her rear-facing. All of my friends turned their toddlers to face forward around the age of 2, if not earlier. I felt pressure and judgment from other parents, but my daughter's height and weight percentages were still below average. Despite what everyone else told me, I continued to keep her rear-facing. But then I thought, "Wouldn't her legs get crushed if we were to ever get into a car accident?"
I talked to a friend about my dilemma after doing a ton of research, and she said something to me that I'll never forget: "It's much easier to fix broken legs than a serious head injury." And she was right. Her simple statement impacted me more than I ever thought it would. It haunted me, too. All of the research I had done supported this simple statement, but to hear it out loud from someone I know made all the difference. All of the comments from strangers on the internet saying things like, "Think about your baby's legs!" or "Her legs could be broken! Keeping your child rear-facing past age 2 is awful!" just became white noise. Yes, broken legs would be awful, but I would take them any day over a head injury. So, with my newfound confidence, we stuck to our decision to leave our daughter rear-facing until she met the height and weight requirements that our state recommends to move your child to a forward-facing car seat.
Some parents still thought it was their right to ask us why and give us a hard time about the whole "broken legs" thing, but I didn't care. I'm more than happy we decided to leave our daughter where she was, because she was in the safest position possible for her size. Parents have the autonomy in most states to choose whether or not they want to keep their child rear-facing beyond a certain age, and I did what was best for my little girl, just like I'm sure you do.
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