I was so excited when the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their car seat guidelines to say that children should be kept rear-facing until 2. I felt a little less like the crazy car seat lady who isn't eager to turn her kids around the minute they turn 1 (and keeps her older kids 5-point-harnessed until 6—yes, 6), since we were doing "extended rear facing" before it was officially recommended.
I'm sure people scoffed at me, but it's hard for me to argue with terms like "internal decapitation" and the statistics the AAP cited that “children younger than 2 were 75 percent more likely to die or be seriously injured when facing forward.” We kept Aidan rear-facing until almost 19 months (not sure why we ended up turning him) and Logan until around 22 months when he reached the 30lb limit on our old Evenflo Triumph.
For Lorelai, we got a new seat with a 35lb rear-facing limit and planned to keep her rf definitely until 2, and preferably past that if she was still within the weight limits. With the van, that was super easy to do, because she had a perfect view: her beloved boys in the back seat. She loves to play peek-a-boo with Aidan behind the seat and make funny faces with Logan.
Unfortunately, she's just about at the max rf weight limit for the seat (34ish pounds when she steps on the scale fully clothed), so I had to give in and finally turn her this weekend. Almost 26 months is great, and safety-wise I'm mostly ok turning her around (I just hate that every car seat "milestone" reached is a safety downgrade). Ironically enough, my biggest issue with turning her around now is that she won't be able to see the boys in the car anymore.
They always got such big laughs out of her, and I'm worried she won't be as entertained in the car anymore. Plus, the way my rearview mirror is angled makes it impossible for me to see her like I used to in the baby mirror, so I have to use the tiny mirror, which is...tiny.
I guess the upside is that she can see me better, but really? How can I entertain her as good as the boys can if I'm driving? They set the bar pretty high there. I guess we'll see how it goes, but for the record, this crazy car seat lady is not excited. Especially since the first thing she said as she got in the car today was "I can't see the boys."
PS: I will never apologize for being the crazy car seat lady when it comes to the safety of my kids. Thankfully the boys never had an issue with being in their 5-point harnesses for so long, and totally understood that it was the safest thing when I explained that the race car drivers have harnesses like that in their cars.
PPS: Edited to add an AAP link to their recommendation. Here's another article that links to the research.