Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Milestone's for My Little Man- and a Few We Choose Not to 'Hit'

You'd think after years of experience with kids and being on my own kiddo #2, I'd have it down pat. But I forgot how much fun this stage is that we're coming into with my 14 month old son. There's this explosion of development and rapid-fire milestones coming at me faster than I can say, 'He's still my baby!'

Climbing: We've gone off the coffee table, over the back of the couch, down stairs, off chairs, off the kitchen table. He just wants to climb all. the. time. We've even figured out how easy it is to drag the play chairs across the floor to better reach things on shelves. *Safety Tip* Please make sure your shelves, dressers, anything tall that can tip are anchored!

Eating: With a fork. It's amazing! The spoon, not so much. But it's coming.Until then I'm grateful for old-fashioned Gerber flats for bibs.

Talking: Almost every day there's a new work or an old word said even more clearly than before. Mommy, Daddy, Puppy, Guys, Kids, This, Out, Bite, Don't, Mess, etc. Pretty sure last week I even heard a 'Mama mess!' when he tried to dive at my makeup!

'So This is How It Works' or 'I'm a Big Kid Now': Trying to put on hats, shoes, taking off diapers, socks, running with the Big Kids, picking up toys and putting them away. He just adores big kids and tries his best to both keep up and imitate them.

While my son is healthy, happy and exploding in development, there are a few milestones we choose not to reach at this time.

1. An end to breastfeeding: It took a lot of perseverance in the beginning to get going successfully and it still takes some perseverance now, but my goal is to reach 18 months before we stop. Possibly even the age of 2. My thoughts are we'll be done when I want to or he wants to, regardless of which comes first. I'm just proud of myself for choosing to breastfeed as long as we have. Hopefully in the near future, it won't be thought odd to breastfeed past the age of 1.

2. Forward Facing:

My Prince rear-facing in his Big Sis' Marathon. She now has a Frontier.

Some may still not be aware, but the old rule of thumb '20lbs/1yr' has been updated. The AAP and many other entities now recognize it is safer to keep children rear-facing as long as their car seats allow. This was a foreign concept when my daughter was an infant, one I hadn't even heard of until shortly before her first birthday(2008) and before the AAP updated their recommendations(2009). It didn't take much research on my part though to come to the conclusion that it was indeed best practice to keep her rear-facing. My husband took some convincing. Actually, I had to negotiate with him to keep her turned until 18 months. By the time she hit that he'd come around and she remained rear-facing until shortly before her 3rd birthday.

Did she ever complain about her legs being cramped? No. Was I ever concerned about her breaking her legs in a crash? No. I was concerned she could break her neck- or worse- in a crash if forward facing. The potential injuries a child could sustain in a crash while forward-facing before their body and neck are developed enough far outweigh a broken leg. From the CDC site:
Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the US. Placing children in age and size appropriate car seats and booster seats reduces serious and fatal unjuries by more than half. -http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/childpas.htm
More than half. Please tell me, what more do you need to know to be convinced?

Just having your child in a car seat is not good enough. They need to be in one installed properly and that is age and size appropriate. Due to differing rates of development, I would argue that height and weight are better measurements than age in determining what is safest for your child. Chances are your child will outgrow rear-facing in height long before they will max out the weight(most car seats go up to 40lbs now).

Once in a while there is a kiddo that struggles with motion sickness or has some kind of medical need that requires them to be turned around earlier. I know of one little boy that had trouble with vomiting. In that case, it may be safer to have them forward facing. But at the risk of sounding mean, please don't tell me your baby needs to be forward facing so they can see the DVD screen in the car. Your child's safety is more important. There are many other things one can do to keep baby happy while in the car. Music and singing is a great one. Books on CD, talking to them or even a special car-only toy also help.

Bottomline: While having your child in a car seat is better than nothing, it is not the best practice. Please research for yourself and your family before turning your baby around at a year and 20lbs.

Need help getting started? Check out these suggestions for more information:

AAP- Car Safety Seats and Transportation Safety
The Importance of Rear-Facing (Youtube)

Your car's manual (Lots of information, great refresher even for adult passenger and driver safety)

The Kyle David Miller Foundation is a great source, but it appears they are having trouble with malware on their site. You can find them on facebook or their blog as an alternative.

Cox Family Adventure: Firsthand account of how 5pt harness seats vs booster seats with seat belts saved this mom's children from serious injury.



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