Well, it's not really a debate because no one has questioned what we are doing as far as the munchkin's safety in our car. However, I have had to bite my tongue on numerous occasions when it comes to others.
There is always a huge debate on rear-facing (RF) vs. forward-facing (FF), at what age it's ok to turn them around, and why you do what you do. At least on TheBump it's a huge debate. You know when someone posts a question asking when others plan on turning their child to FF and someone says they did it at 1 year that all hell is going to break loose.
It's easy to see why there is so much debate, though. If you look at the Governors Highway Safety Association website you can see what the regulations are for each state (click HERE). There is no consensus on what is "correct". For instance, in SC the law is RF for under 1 or less than 20 lbs, 1-5 years and 20-39 lbs in a FF safety seat, and 1-5 years and 40-80 lbs in a booster seat. And SC is one of the states that at least stipulates that they child MUST be RF for a certain period of time. In South Dakota the only regulation is that they must be in a child restraint until they are 5 years old and the fine for a first time offense is only $25. Seriously? Do the legislators in that state not care at all about the safety of babies?
It just seems crazy to me that there is not a national law that regulates child safety seats. I'm sure there are reasons for it, but it still seems weird to me. The American Association of Pediatrics updated their recommendation on car seats (click HERE to see it), but that is just a recommendation, not a law.
For the record, our little munchkin is still rear-facing and will continue to be for quite some time.
He has plenty of room, and while it would be nice to be able to turn around and see his smiling face it is not worth risking his safety. I will continue to use our rearview mirrors to see his face until his little body is big and strong enough to safely turn to forward-facing.
Therein comes the biting of my tongue. My sister turned my nieces around at 1 and I have seen countless friends on facebook who have posted pictures of their little ones in their forward-facing car seats. I'm not one to question someone's parenting choices (to their face at least!) and I'm not going to tell someone what to do, but part of me wants to say "You know your kid has a 75% more likely chance of dying in a car accident since you turned them around, right?". Those people aren't breaking any laws, though, so they are well within their rights to do what they are doing.
I guess this is just another area of parenting that people will always have to agree to disagree on - at least until this country wises up and makes some national regulations.