So there was interest in starting a new, active ERF chat thread! Anyone who ERFs in welcome to join in and chat, not just about ERFing, but their babes/life in general.
Chat away, ladies!
Some of you may ask... WHY ERF?
http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/StayRearFacing.aspx ) What if I am hit from behind? Won't my child be safer facing forward?
Frontal and side impacts are the most common type of crashes. They account for 96% of all crashes. They are also the most deadly type of crashes (especially side impacts) and rear-facing children have MUCH more protection in both types of crashes than forward-facing. In the 4% of rear impact crashes that a rear-facing child would be in, they have at least the same amount of protection that a FF child would have in a frontal impact, with the added benefit of less crash energy being transferred to them, and the fact that the rear impact is usually not as severe.
The forces in a rear impact crash are much different from the forces in a frontal impact crash. In a frontal impact, the forces are much greater because the vehicles are usually traveling in opposite directions. Experts suggest that a frontal crash is the same as hitting a concrete barrier. The vehicle and all occupants come to a dead stop within less than 1 second.
When you are struck in a rear impact, the vehicles involved are traveling in the same direction, and the vehicle that is hit in the back has room to move forward. The crash force on the occupants is much less than in a frontal impact. The movement of the impacted vehicle, in addition to the crush zone, absorbs a lot of the crash energy, so it is not transferred to the child. Additionally, the majority of rear impacts are at low speeds.
In short, if your child is rear-facing, he has optimal protection in the types of crashes you are most likely to be in. If he is forward-facing, he may have optimal protection in a rear-end crash, but statistically, that is the least likely to happen and he is 60% more likely to be injured or killed in the types of crashes (frontal, side impact) you are most likely to be in.
Won't my child be uncomfortable? Where do his legs go? Many parents have the misconception that children are uncomfortable or at risk for leg injury by having their legs up on the vehicle seat or bent when kept rear-facing. These concepts are completely incorrect. First, children are more flexible than adults so what we perceive as uncomfortable is not for children. Think about how your child sits in everyday play. Do they sit with their legs straight out in front of them? When they sit on the couch, do they purposely sit so their legs dangle out over the edge? No. In real, everyday life, toddlers and preschoolers CHOSE to sit with their legs folded up - that IS comfort to them.
Second, there is not a single documented case of children's legs, hips, etc. breaking or being injured in a crash due to longer rear-facing. There are plenty of cases of head and neck injury in forward-facing children that could have been prevented if the child had remained rear-facing. However, even if a leg or hip were broken or injured, it can be fixed. A damaged spinal cord (from forward-facing too soon) cannot be repaired and subjects the child to lifelong disability or death.
Why should my child rear-face past 1 year and 20 lbs? Every milestone in a child's life is exciting! First steps, first word, first day of school. Even car seat milestones seem exciting. The truth is, they should be looked at with a certain sense of dread, not longing. Every step in car seat "advancement" is actually a step down in your child's protection.
Rear-facing is much, much safer than forward-facing. Child safety seats: Rear-face until at least one year discusses the reasons why children should remain rear-facing for a FULL year and 20 lbs. In it, Kathleen Weber states, "In the research and accident review that I did a few years ago, the data seemed to break at about 12 months between severe consequences and more moderate consequences..." This does not mean that there are NO consequences. The consequences may no longer be death from a completely severed spinal cord, but simply life-long injury, including complete paralysis. Research studies suggest that until children are at least four, they are incapable of withstanding crash forces as well as adults - and should remain rear-facing.
In a crash, life-threatening or fatal injuries are generally limited to the head and neck, assuming a child is in a harnessed seat.
When a child is in a forward-facing seat, there is tremendous stress put on the child's neck, which must hold the large head back. The mass of the head of a small child is about 25% of the body mass whereas the mass of the adult head is only 6%! A small child's neck sustains massive amounts of force in a crash. The body is held back by the straps while the head is thrown forward - stressing, stretching or even breaking the spinal cord. The child's head is at greater risk in a forward-facing seat as well. In a crash, the head is thrown outside the confines of the seat and can make dangerous contact with other occupants, vehicle structures, and even intruding objects, like trees or other vehicles.
Rear-facing seats do a phenomenal job of protecting children because there is little or no force applied to the head, neck and spine. When a child is in a rear-facing seat, the head, neck and spine are all kept fully aligned and the child is allowed to "ride down" the crash while the back of the child restraint absorbs the bulk of the crash force. The head is contained within the restraint, and the child is much less likely to come into contact with anything that might cause head injury.
Notice the difference in stress on the child's body in the two crash test photos below.
Courtesy of University of Michigan Child Passenger Protection
How to tell if your RF seat is outgrown by height:
It seems that how to tell when a RF (rear-facing) seat is outgrown is a fairly common question. It can be really hard to tell when a RF seat is outgrown, and a common misconception is looking from the front of the carseat to see if it is outgrown. The seat will pretty much always look outgrown from the front before it is truly outgrown because you need to look from the side.
This picture shows the correct way to measure. A line is drawn perpendicular to the shell/back of the carseat over the top of the child's head (#1). Then a second line is drawn out from the top of the shell parallel to the first line (#2).
Now measure the distance between the two lines. When there is *less than one inch*, the rearfacing restraint is outgrown by height.
This picture shows a common misconception with how people measure to check for the one inch rule. The line is drawn parallel to the ground from the top of the shell. You can see how this would appear to show the seat is outgrown, however it is incorrect to measure this way and this child still has room to grow in this seat.
The best place to measure how much room is left in the seat is when the seat is installed in the vehicle. They're usually more upright in the house and the more upright they are the more shell there will be above the child's head making your measurements not acurate.
*Disclaimer* This 1" rule works for all infant seats. Some convertibles allow you to have the head even with the top of the shell, refer to your manual.
Zane, 2 years
Rockin' a MyRide 65
Alex (Alex♥Kaden) Kaden, 15m
rockin' a Sunshine Kids RadianXTSL, and Graco MyRide65