Tomorrow, Nora and I are heading to America on our first solo trip since that last horrendous drive from New York to Massachusetts. We are loading the car with toys and books, clothes, the pack-n-play, snacks and sippy cups, and lots of prayers that Nora will manage the 6 hour drive ahead of us without too much screaming.
I’m especially nervous, because Nora is still stuck in her “baby-bucket” car seat. Semi-reclined and rear-facing; not able to look out windows or see me sitting up front.
At 12 months, I was super excited to dig her forward-facing car seat out of the attic and put it in the car so she could see what was going on and I could see her. As far as I knew, one year is the age that most people flip their kids around. But, at her check up shortly after her birthday, she weighed just under 19 lbs. — three pounds shy of the 22 required for our forward-facing seat. Which meant the baby bucket stayed…not necessarily a problem since we don’t even ride in the car once a week and never for more than 10 minutes. This is our vehicle of choice:
But, with a long drive ahead of us, and three months growth for Nora, I thought it would be good to re-examine our car seat situation.
So, this morning we stopped by the doctor’s office for a quick weight and height check.
She’s 19 lbs. 13 oz. and 30 inches tall, so unfortunately the old car seat stays.
Sometimes, it seems like our little girl is going to be a peanut forever: at 15 months, barely fitting into her 12 month clothes…riding in an infant seat when all the other kids are turned around. It’s so easy to get impatient waiting for the next milestone and to try to push our kids to get bigger and act older faster. Nora is walking and talking and acting so much like a little girl that it’s easy to forget she’s still a baby; that only months ago she was just learning to crawl and stand on her own. As disappointing as it is to have to keep using her infant car seat, it’s a good reminder for me that she’s still so little and not to push her to do things she’s not yet ready to do.
And, as it turns out, staying rear-facing may be better for her in the long-run. I was surprised to see a NPR report this morning that says facing backward is the safest way a child can ride in the car. In fact, yesterday, the National Transportation Safety Board held a forum on car seat safety in Washington and one of the expected recommendations is a change in car seat safety law to require children to be rear-facing longer. According to the news story, European laws require children to face backward much longer than we do in the US; in Sweden, kids as old as four are still riding backward. After doing more research on the best car seats and positions, we may even get rid of our forward-facing seat and reinvest in a convertible rear-facing seat. With a long drive ahead of us, that “dumb old” car seat is looking better and better.
Let’s just hope Nora feels the same way…