*This article was originally published on Huffington Post. I had the tremendous honor of interviewing celebrity mom, Daphne Oz, and pediatrician, Dr. David Hill. The information in this article and the Turn After 2 campaign is all about keeping children safe, a cause I strongly believe in! Check it out and help spread the word!
As parents, we strive to keep our children safe. If we could keep them in a bubble, we would. A bubble made of all-natural materials, yet impenetrable would be preferable. Before becoming parents we read and research, but often we rely on the advice of our friends and family. However, sometimes we do not ask the right questions. Or, we are too afraid of judgment to even muster up the courage to ask any questions at all.
Have you ever had a friend post a selfie on social media, say in the drive-thru of Starbucks? In the background, you can glimpse an adorable little munchkin grinning from the backseat. You may have been too focused upon those sweet smiles to realize that perhaps something is amiss. Rather than admiring those cute dimples maybe you should be admiring those wiggly, little baby toes instead.
Child Car Seat Safety
Daphne Oz, mom and celebrity ambassador of the TurnAfter2 campaign, says, “I think most parents are just trying to do their best and make the right choices to keep their kids safe and healthy.” But, “Keeping your child rear-facing is not something that typically comes up in conversation unless you see a friend who has turned their baby around too early.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in rear-facing car seats until the age of two, at least. Depending on the weight and height of your child, you may be able to keep your child in a rear-facing seat longer. Rear-facing seats are safer at this age because they help properly support your child’s head and neck. They will also better distribute the impact of a crash, should you be involved in an auto accident.
Dr. David Hill, pediatrician and Chicco child passenger safety spokesperson, encourages parents to visit the AAP and talk to their pediatricians about car seat safety. At your regular well visits, you will receive your child’s current height and weight measurements to use as your guide for when to transition your child into a forward facing car seat.
Dr. Hill states that the number one misconception parents have about when to transition their child is that they think, “If your child’s legs are folded up, it is time to turn. What they need to do is look at the documentation on the car seat itself and see what the height and weight requirements of the seat are because that is how you know when to turn.”
According to Dr. Hill, “What parents need to understand, is that the risk of injury is five times higher in a forward facing car seat at that age rather than rear-facing. It is okay if the legs are a little squished, it is the head that we are really trying to protect.”
Developing the Perfect Car Seat
Chicco, a trusted brand in child care and safety for over 50 years, is constantly hard at work in their Happiness Lab. The top-notch scientists and researchers are always looking for new and innovative solutions to keep kids both happy and safe. They study children from birth to age three in order to find ways to best meet their unique and ever-changing needs. Survey data is regularly collected from physicians, educators, and parents. Chicco strives to address concerns while attempting to check every box on parent’s wish lists.
According to a recent study by Chicco, sixty-nine percent of parents believe that other parents are allowing their children to sit in front-facing car seats far too soon. Placing your child in a forward-facing car seat too soon multiplies the chances of injury or death in an auto accident by as much as five times.
These are scary facts and yet Chicco found that parents are often reluctant to broach this topic with other parents. Seventy-two percent of parents feel uncomfortable talking to other parents about riding in rear-facing car seats. As Daphne Oz explains, “It can feel like you are stepping on toes. The reality is most parents, especially if they realize you are only telling them because you wish it is something someone had told you, are really responsive to having new information.”
“We have to be very adaptive as parents. Often if we are making a choice that is not the best it is because we do not have all of the information,” as Daphne Oz knows, as a mom herself. “When you present a friend with real research and real information and show them how much safer they are, it really empowers them to make the best choice possible.
In efforts to raise awareness about the importance of parents talking to one another and discussing the importance of car seat safety, Chicco is launching a new campaign, TurnAfter2™.
Innovation Meets Safety in Chicco’s New Car Seat
In efforts to help parents keep their kids in rear-facing car seats longer, Chicco has introduced the Fit2™ Infant and Toddler Car Seat. This car seat includes an innovative two-stage design that will accommodate your child from their very first day of life through two years old and even beyond, depending on the child’s height and weight. Babies grow and change so much during these first few years and it hard to imagine that one car seat can really be “one size fits all”. However, Chicco has thought of pretty much everything.
The infant stage, Stage One, safely supports your baby’s head, neck, and body with their 7-position headrest and adjustable harness. There is even removable head and body supports to accommodate preemies and smaller infants. As your baby grows into toddlerhood, you can adjust the car seat to Stage Two, with a simple movement of a lever. The toddler stage allows for a more upright sitting position and leg room without sacrificing the comfort of your child or extra room in your vehicle. Most importantly, it allows your child to safely remain rear-facing for far longer.
The Fit2 Two-Stage Car Seat
The Fit2™ is available now at Babies“R”Us stores nationwide and online at BabiesRUs.com and is travel system compatible. You do not have to sacrifice convenience for the added safety. This car seat maintains the same one-hand release for carrying and is compatible with all Chicco strollers that accept an infant car seat.
As Daphne Oz exclaims, “Chicco has the new Fit2 car seat and it is so exciting, I wish I had it with both of my kids. Buy it once and then you have it until two or beyond because it fits both the height and width specifications. One piece of equipment and it just clicks into the carrier so you just roll the sleeping baby from the car into the house!”
Peace of mind coupled with ease of use is like a parent’s dream come true!
How to Get Involved in the TurnAfter2 Campaign
Chicco has done a lot of the legwork, but the TurnAfter2 campaign is about more than just a new car seat design. It is about raising awareness about child car seat safety and potentially saving children’s lives.
How Parents Can Help
You can find out more information about car seat safety by visiting AAP or TurnAfter2.com. Chicco is providing important information for parents regarding the car seat safety laws and guidelines in your state. Many states already legally require parents to keep their child in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two.
If you are wondering if you have your child in the correct car seat or are concerned about installing it yourself, Dr. Hill also recommends visiting your local certified car seat installers. “Many fire stations will have somebody on staff who has taken a 40-hour qualifying course to learn everything there is to know about car seat safety.”
Visit Chicco’s Mobile Tour
Throughout the year, Chicco will be visiting baby fairs and expos across the country, in an effort to raise widespread awareness of two years rear-facing and introduce as many parents as possible to TurnAfter2 and the Fit2 Infant & Toddler Car Seat.
Get Busy on Social Media
The mission of this campaign is to spread awareness in a positive light. This is not about mom shaming. Think about that Starbucks selfie, but this time the photo shows a toddler safely secured and comfortable in a rear-facing car seat. Naturally, this may inspire other parents to do the same or to find out more.
As Daphne Oz says, “Everyone wants to share pictures of their cute kids, right?” She also suggests making a video of placing your child in a rear-facing car seat or how to install your new seat. You can share the adorable photos and videos of your child in a rear-facing car seat on social media using #TurnAfter2 to help spread the word. As Dr. Hill says, “This is a campaign I can believe in.” Together, as celebrities, doctors, and parents alike we can spread the word of TurnAfter2 and help keep our kids safe.