In late June, Kim Kardashian failed to follow the number one rule for moms on the internet: Never post a photo of your kid in the car. After sharing a cute pic of Saint on Facebook, the mom-shaming commenced. But now, finally, Kardashian has addressed her car seat critics, and it turns out that their safety concerns were completely misplaced. Fans (if you can call them that) were quick to point out that Saint, then just shy of 17 months old, was facing forward in his seat, and insisted that he should be rear-facing until age 2, but they didn't know the whole story.
Kardashian explained everything in a new video on her paywalled website, but luckily, she also published the relevant clip on YouTube. "What people didn't know," the reality star said, "is that Saint is now the weight and the height requirement to sit forward-facing. Saint actually weighs more than North." Parents who haven't had an infant in a few years may have forgotten that while there are age-based guidelines for car seat safety, there are also limits based on the size of the child, which is actually a much more accurate way to ensure they're in the right seat and position.
As of 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies ride in rear-facing car seats "until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website clarifies those guidelines with a chart that shows toddlers are ready to start facing forward between ages 1 and 3, depending on their size. California law is slightly more specific; as of January, kids under 2 must be rear-facing unless they weigh 40 pounds and are 40 inches tall. Saint's seat appears to be a Maxi-Cosi Pria 70, which does carry the typical 40-pound and 40-inch limitation for rear-facing positioning.
While some fans tried to defend Kardashian on Facebook by citing motion sickness or a lack of legroom as a reason Saint might be facing forward, it's important to know that those are not valid reasons to make the switch. However, forward-facing isn't just a matter of convenience, either. Once a child outgrows the height limit for a rear-facing seat, their head may no longer be protected in a crash, and the LATCH system can't be used once the child and car seat's combined weight are more than 65 pounds. While rear-facing may be best for the average baby, it appears that Saint is actually in the safest position possible for his size. Now don't we all feel foolish for judging?