Not only are too many parents not keeping kids in rear-facing car seats long enough, but loved ones who notice aren't comfortable pointing it out.
According to new data from baby brand Chicco, most parents flip their children's car seats from rear facing to forward facing before the recommended age of 2. But perhaps even more troubling is that 72 percent of loved ones who know better don't speak up to correct this dangerous mistake.
According to USA Today, various studies have shown that as many as 73 percent of parents are flipping their kids' seats too early. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids remain rear facing in their car seats until at least age 2, and longer if possible.
In an effort to reduce the number of parents who are flipping their child's seat too early, Chicco has launched a site called TurnAfter2. There, parents are encouraged to share a photo of their 2- or 3-year-old "still riding rear-facing" and to use the hash tag #TurnAfter2 on social media.
Author and TV host Daphne Oz, celebrity ambassador for TurnAfter2, said about the campaign: "It's not that scolding, mommy-shaming nonsense. We can and should be each other's resources especially if you see something that puts a child in harm's way. This is a way for you not to be the bad guy. "
I'll admit it would be hard for me to approach a mom friend who had turned around her child's seat before age 2. Because you want to believe that parents make the best, most educated decisions for their little ones' safety. But as Oz suggests, it doesn't have to be said in an "I know better" kind of way. Perhaps just starting a conversation about car seat safety is the way to go, and sharing your own experience and what you've learned. And hope that you can make an important difference in a family's life.
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Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of 4. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.