Summer Vacation Series Part III: Rear vs. Forward Facing car seat for a long drive

So for our first vacation as a family, well at least the first that counts (we took Turner on work trips with Andrew when he was a couple of weeks old), we decided since we were driving from North Carolina to Destin, Florida, it would be a treat for Turner, and easier for us, if we turned his car seat forward facing.

The first couple of minutes were awesome. We got to see him, and every time we turned around and looked at him he would giggle and he just loved it. It was easier… at first.


We thought it would be easier. Especially since his car seat presses up against my seat, and if I wanted to lay it back, or not be hugging the dashboard for the entire drive, he would have to be in the middle instead of behind my seat.

When Turner got tired, and we just happened to be stuck in traffic due to a wreck, it was hell. He could not get comfortable in the more upright position the car seat was in. He wanted me to be turned and talking to him or giving him attention every second, which made me car sick. He was livid, and there was nothing we could do because we were stuck in traffic, on the side of the highway, with no end in sight.

We drive halfway the first night, just to make it easier on Turner. Which ended up being miserable for us. But we were so tired, we just decided to leave the car seat forward facing the next morning. It was only 4 hours, and although it was a little harder, it was just so cute to be able to look back and see him. It really was a treat for us. Well, we soon regretted that decision as well.


Since he could see us, he wanted to us to play and talk to him the whole time. I just couldn’t do it. Well, needless to say, for the non-stop 8 hour trip home, we left his seat rear-facing. And although I could not even begin to straighten my legs, Turner slept and was content the whole way home!

So lesson learned. If you think a forward-facing seat is easier and better for your little one on a long car ride… think again. Leave it rear-facing for as long as possible!