Okay y'all. I'm a car seat nazi. I follow all the rules and I'm neurotic about installing them appropriately. I blame my mother. I was in middle school when she began working with SafeKids in Douglas County and I volunteered with her several times. It was around that age that I learned just how important those giant chunks of plastic and metal were for tiny children. I have been a stickler for the rules ever since 1994. I can't help it.
When I found out I was pregnant I threw myself into car seat research. I did more research about car seats and which ones were the safest than I did about birthing methods. Regret that, yes... but only because I should have learned more about birthing options. Lesson noted... moving on. I found the highest ranked car seat according to Consumer Reports and several other reputable parenting magazines and journals. I was determined to get the best for my babies.
About the time Hayes was born most seats had a weight limit of 22-25 lbs. Well, I don't have tiny babies. We hit that weight limit well before the first birthday. I had to buy an additional 'bucket seat' as I call them about halfway through Hayes' first year. His birth weight was 7 lbs 12 oz, and he weighed close to 17 lbs at 6 months. No way we were going to get to that first birthday in the 22 lbs car seat. I bought a seat with a higher weight limit, but it was just like the bucket we already had. Same colors and all. Thankfully I was smart enough to save ALL of my gift cards to buy that once we had received every shower gift under the sun.
Now, we have all these new recommendations for rear facing vs. forward facing until they are 2. Both of my children began facing forward shortly after their first birthdays. They both had reached the weight limit for the seat they were in and I was comfortable with them riding forward in a car seat. I will never forget the first time Hayes rode facing forward and I got to watch his face while we drove through town. He was amazed and his blue eyes lit up as we passed each new set of street lights. However, with Spencer Brynne I do believe we will keep SB facing backwards until she turns 2. Technically this should be easier because she should be seated close to her siblings and they will be facing forward, thus able to entertain her.
I see that some people have their reasons for facing them forward earlier, but I am concerned about safety and that's pretty much it. So SB will be riding backwards until she's 2 and I'll be buying ANOTHER car seat to add to the collection I already have. Between parents, nannies, and grandparents we have 9 car seats. NINE. I only have 2 children (currently).... We will have to buy one more for SB and then a new booster or two for Hayes once SB is old enough to face the front. Should have bought stock in Graco and Chicco 5 years ago....