Vent PLEASE, stay rear-facing past 12mos/20lbs


New member
PLEASE, for your childrens sake, consider leaving them in REAR-FACING (RF) car seats as longs as you can. Although it is "suggested" by many people and organizations, that you can turn them forward facing at 1 yr / 20 lbs, and seats are made to accommodate that, it doesn't mean they will not be subjected to cervical spine injuries in an accident. Sure, it'll hold their body in place, as it did for my grandson. But their head is thrown violently forward!! Actually, if you do your homework, front facing children "75% more likely to be injured" in a crash ( ).

I am Grandpa, and here's my personal view. My 18 mo old grandson, Joel, was injured in a front impact car crash 4 weeks ago. He is a "beefy" boy, weighing in at 34lbs and about 39" tall. According to his mom, the doctor told her it was "okay" to put him in a front facing car seat, because he was a "big boy". So she did. And he was securely strapped in the rear seat. The car hit a tree, for reasons unknown, at city speed limit of approx 35 mph.

At the accident scene, the EMT crew took Joel out of the car while in the car seat and all, and transported him to the hospital. They had to "bag" him at the scene to restart his breathing. The true miracle is that the ambulance was driving by, and some people flagged it down. They didn't even get time to call 911. You can bet God had his hand in that!!! they were on the scene in about 60 seconds!!

Below are some photos of Joel, before and after. YOU decide whats best for your child.......not anyone else!!! He sustained dislocated top 2 vertebrae in his spine (C-1 & C-2). Some of the doctors put it in very simple terms...his skull, internally, became detached from his body... and was basically held on with his skin.

In the last few weeks, I've scoured the internet to find these facts:
* a young child's head is approx 25% of his/her bodywieight. If that were true of adults, my head (I'm 220lbs) would weigh 55lbs! as it is, an adults head is only about 6% of their body weight. So, kids are very top-heavy.
* Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland recommend rear facing until 4 yrs old
* look on You Tube at the crash test videos of front facing vs. rear facing. you'll be amazed.
YouTube - Crash Test -

* if a young childs spine is "stretched" a 1/4 of an inch, it could result in total paralysis or death.
* and this is amazing! There was an article published in Pediatrics (the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) earlier this year that states: ""A recent analysis of the protection provided in rear-facing compared with forward-facing car safety seats has revealed that children under the age of 2 years are 75% less likely to die or sustain serious injury when they are in a rear-facing seat.2 This finding was true regardless of direction of the crash, even those crashes with side impact, which typically are the most severe."

"Parents may be helped to understand the importance of using the convertible car safety seat in the rear-facing position longer than 1 year if they are counseled that children are 5 times safer than when riding in a forward-facing seat into the second year of life."

After hearing about that, I contacted the AAP via email, and asked what their position is on this issue. Their response was "While this was published in the Academy's journal, it does not necessarily constitute AAP policy" and "Because riding rear-facing does provide significantly more protection to children's heads, necks, and spines, the Academy does recommend it for as long as possible, but the only minimum we have set is 12 months/20 pounds. This policy statement is under revision but is current at this time."

The policy statement is under revision.... at this time??

Do you're home work folks!!! Oh, and you'll also find out that in the USA, rear facing seats only go up to about 35lbs. In Europe, whose testing standards seem to exceed US standards ( ), the RF car seats can be purchased up to 55 lbs. AND, made by the same manufacturers as in the US.

So, the question is, why can't we get them?? And don;t worry about legroom. check out these larger RF seats:
Sure, they can break a leg in a violent crash, but I think bones are easier to fix than a broken neck!!! Heck, it's better to mount a portable CD player in the back window shelf and let them watch it, then to risk their life! Think about it....their body is strapped down to a car seat that is strapped down, and the car comes to an abrupt stop!! where is their head going to go? FORWARD, and at a tremedous velocity!! The back of their neck/ spinal cord is vunerable to injury.

But the BIG question is....... for you to decide. I know you want to see their darling faces. But you don't want to see them in a halo.

I know this is a very long blog, but if it saves one child...or one family, the agony of what we've endured these last 4 weeks, it is worth the read!! The pic's below are about six weeks apart. he was eating cake by himself....very cute.

And now, he is is headed for intense physical therapy. he does move his fingers and his legs, but he doesn't pick up his arms. The therapy people are very optimistic, given the movement in his extremities. Doctors believe it was some compression of the shoulder nerves from the car seat straps acroos his collar bone area. You had to see those big, wide bruise marks. Again...front facing will do it.!!

Here are photos of Joel, before and after......

I welcome all comments, as I would like to see: the FF threshold raised to 24 months, and largers RF seats available in the US. Thank you
Last edited:


Admin - CPS Technician
Welcome, and thanks for sharing your story and research. I think you'll find we are definitely on the side of rearfacing as long as possible, here :thumbsup:, and we always need more voices to spread the news.


New member
I am so sorry to hear what you've gone through and our prayers are with your family and grandson. Thank you for spreading your story to help those who will be coming here for advice, to see it first hand what we try so hard to advocate.

We are big believers of extended rear facing. Many of us here have our 2,3 or even 4 year olds still rearfacing. However, only the "little" ones get to stay rearfacing very long here due to the low weight limit of US rear facing seats.

As we try to spread the word to others and to car seat manufacturers, we hope eventually we will get the opportunity to protect our child the same way other countries such as Sweden are allowed to protect theirs.

Thank you again for sharing your story. It just confirms for us that the message we are spreading is the right message and DOES protect children.

Prayers and positive thoughts are with your family


New member
Welcome! My prayers will be with your family. Good for you for doing research and spreading the word. I am sorry that you had to do so under such horrible circumstances. You will find, as PPs stated, we are pro ERF here.

May I have permission to post your story on my blog @ myspace? I have several friends with children that could be rear facing still. Some were told by a police officer who was recently trained to be a CPST to FF at 1 and 20 because of the legs myth.


Admin - CPS Technician
I'm very sorry about your grandson :(

You mentioned your grandson was 34 pounds at the time of the crash. Just so you know, most convertible seats in the US rear-face to 33 or 35 lbs, so depending on his seat, he might have been over the rear-facing weight limit, or would have been very close to it. We would love to have seats here that keep kids rear-facing until they're 4, but right now, only the smallest children make it that long. EDITED: Duh, I'm sorry, you did know that and had it in your post. I missed it the first time!

As others have said, you'll find that this board is very supportive of rear-facing for as long as possible. However, most people outside of child safety circles don't know that. Talking to other parents and grandparents you know could make a big difference for their families. :thumbsup:


CPST Instructor
Welcome. I am very sorry bad advice was given and Joel was injured in the crash as a result :crying:. Although he was borderline weight wise for being turned around he still may have been RF had someone said keep him RF to 35 lbs (if his seat was rated to 35 lbs RF). You have done your research! I applaud you for that. Not everyone does. RF is best for as long as possible as you have discovered through your research. This is what we teach in the Safe Kids Cirricullum too. I can only hope others see your story and understand what your family is going through because of this.

My thought are with you and I think you are a great advocate for child passenger safety!


New member
WELCOME and thank you for sharing your story! your family and Joel are in my thoughts and prayers!


New member
Welcome. You have done an amazing job with your research. What a great compilation of facts and information. I am so sorry for your grandson's injuries. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Around here we *strongly* advocate rear facing for as long as possible. Many of us have children rf to age 2, 3, and 4 yrs old. There is even a poster who had her 5y/o rf as he was under the max rf weight limit of his seat.

All of us wish for seats with higher rf limits... similar to Swedish and Scandinavian seats that allow for rf to 55lbs.

Please keep us posted on Joel's progress.

You should really consider making a youtube video about the dr advising ff, what the AAP says, the collision, the aftermath, his progress, and the need for higher rf seats, etc.


Active member
HELP...I was unable to open the pictures from the I not allowed????? I've been around here for awhile?


Well-known member
You're preaching to the choir here, but please go right ahead. I'd also hit the mainstream sites like babycenter, ivilleage, etc. ;)

I'm so sorry that this happened to your sweet grandbaby. :( He's a beautiful boy. Please keep us updated on his progress. I hope he makes a full recovery as soon as possible.

What I find most disturbing about the laws is that I can't import a Swedish seat to RF to 55lbs even if I want to. Luckily this isn't a big problem for me because I'm one of those parents with petite children. You can see my 4y 2m old, 27lb son RFing in my signature. We're one of the lucky few that can make it this far. I expect Quinn will make it to 5 years or older RFing.

If you're looking for more information or want a great site to share with family, one of our members and CPST's has a great website that explains everything in easy to understand terms...
I find the diagrams very helpful when talking about head size in young children.

Best wishes to you and yours during Joel's recovery.


New member
I'm so sorry! I hope he gets better soon. This makes me scared because my 15 month old weights 30lbs and our seat only RF to 33lbs. I'm scared that something like this will happen.


Well-known member
What a great compilation of information! I'm sorry your grandson is going through this. My prayers are with him and your family.


Active member
Your grandson is absolutely beautiful. Thanks for posting this. I, too, want to know if I can post this elsewhere? Do you have a site setup for Joel like a caringbridge or something like that?

Also, did his mom get injured?

Praying for your family.


New member
You're preaching to the choir here, but please go right ahead. I'd also hit the mainstream sites like babycenter, ivilleage, etc.

Definitely stop by Ivillage :D I'm the CL of the carseat board (different screen name but it's me) and we always like to have people stop by. Since I'm here and there (lots of us are ;p) We're the choir too.

I'm sending up prayers and positive thoughts for your grandson.


Forum Ambassador
I also couldn't open the pictures of Joel. Thanks for posting. Joel and your family are in my prayers.
They are limited to members of the other board. If you sign up for an account over there, then you can see them.

ETA: and I forgot to say that my thoughts are with your family and with Joel for a quick and full recovery.
Last edited:


New member
Prayers for your family and thank you for sharing. I am a ERF and EH fan and you just gave me more ammunition for all those who think I am crazy.

Mom to
ERF 18mo old 22 lbs.
EH 5y 5 mo old 52 lbs


New member
Thank you so much for sharing your story!

My Sister in law turned her youngest daughter forward facing at 10 MONTHS!

Since then I've been begging and pleading with her to turn her back around. I even took her online and read her the "articles and statistics" regarding extended rear facing. Although she sees the point, she still hasn't turned her because she cries if she can't watch the DVD player in the car.:rolleyes:

I am forwarding your post to her. Maybe hearing from someone who was really affected by this will change her mind. I hope so.

By the way. I would LOVE to print out your post and publish it in the newsletter at my daughters preschool. Please let me know if you would be OK with that or not. I would never do it without permission, but I think it is so wonderfully put. I See lots of forward facing babies that are way too young there:thumbsdown:

Best wishes to your family


New member
It's me, LUV2BFISHIN!!

I posted this thread a few days ago............and I want to thank everyone for their support, and prayers, regarding Joel.

He's doing great!! It's been a month since the accidnt. He'll be in the halo for about 3 more months, and currently he's in a very special physical therapy, dealing primarily with brain & spinal injuries.

He's alert, and exercising his legs and arms everyday, several times per day.

So, to all of you who want to use Joel's story, here's the deal. If you want to print it out & hand it to parents as a proactive advocate of RF seats, go ahead!! I know the pic's are powerful. And I have some even more devastating than those. Keep in mind, he fractured his right eye (orbital shelf) , and so for the week after the accident...his right eye looked like a boxer's after 10 rounds of boxing!

BUT, I'd like something in return. I ask your help in getting the "authorities" to revisit the 12 mo/ 20lb threshold, where they state children "should ride rear facing until they are at least 1 yr of age and 20 lbs." That's from the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) who has influence with the NHTSA in setting these standards. These laws are state specific, so each state has it's own mandates. Email your government officials!!

I've even emailed the major car seat manufacturers and asked them "how does their front facing seat help to prevent cervical spine injuries"? HA HA! talk about a joke!! only one response, and they said their seat meets NHTSA standards. okay, what are those standards?? I challenge ANYONE to show me results of controlled testing, with a front facing 12 mo / 20 lb child involved in a front impact 35 mph crash and NOT sustaining cervical spine and/or brachial plexus injuries!! ANYONE ACCEPT THAT CHALLENGE?? Maybe AAP, or NHTSA??

Okay parents, you've taken a few minutes to research these car sites. NOW, take a few minutes and send an email to these organizations and express your outrage with the assumption that 12 mo / 20lbs is an acceptable threshold to FF a child. Email AAP @, and se what response you get!
And fire off an email to NHTSA @ this site :

How many "Joels" are in hospitals around the country...right now?? How many kids aren't here to tell their story??

Help Joel !! And help yourself!! help your neighbor!! and help a kid from a 1000 miles away you'll never even meet!! I've got a BIG mouth!!! I just fired an email to Oprah!! I've never done a "blog" like this before, so watch out!! A newbie is in town.

C'mon.........take 5 minutes, and DO IT!!! and you can copy me in on the email @


New member
Again, I really commend you for being so passionate about changing these laws.

It is something a lot of us here feel very strongly about.

I, too, at times wish I could do "something" to change awareness. But I admit I haven't been very diligent. I preach it to anyone who will listen to me, but I haven't gone very far outside that. You are bringing it to a whole new level for me.

You actually lived my worst nightmare for me, or anyone I know's children to have to go through.

You have inspired me.

Car-Seat.Org Facebook Group

Forum statistics

Latest member

You must read your carseat and vehicle owner’s manual and understand any relevant state laws. These are the rules you must follow to restrain your children safely. All opinions at Car-Seat.Org are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Carseat Media LLC. Car-Seat.Org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician. Before posting or using our website you must read and agree to our TERMS.

Graco is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org! Britax is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org! Nuna Baby is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!

Please  Support Car-Seat.Org  with your purchases of infant, convertible, combination and boosters seats from our premier sponsors above.
Shop travel systems, strollers and baby gear from Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Evenflo, First Years, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Safety 1st, Diono & more! ©2001-2022 Carseat Media LLC