Rear Facing: Why does it matter?
I’m a passionate extended rear-facing advocate. As soon as I watched the crash test videos and learned the logic behind it, I knew that there was no other suitable option for us. It is five times safer and could save your child’s life, but it is still not commonplace in the UK. Why not?
Who can argue with something that is five times safer? Well, a lot of people apparently.
I still see blasé comments about car seat safety because thousands of cheap forward-facing seats can be purchased in popular high street shops, and “they must be okay if they’re allowed to be sold” is often the reasoning behind it.
The Bare Minimum
To be deemed fit for sale those seats have to undergo the ECE R44.03/ECE R44.04 test using a standard crash dummy. These tests do not look at the effects an impact has on internal organs or what force the neck is subjected to.
“In Scandinavia, rear facing car seats have been used for a long time, and crash test dummies always measure the forces the body is subjected to, including the forces on the neck. These tests show that children in rear-facing car seats are subjected to five times less force on the neck than children in forward facing car seats. The internal organs are also protected to a greater extent.
Children in Sweden are extremely unlikely to die in car accidents. Between July 2006 and November 2007, not a single child under the age of 6 years old was killed in a car crash in Sweden (Source: VTI Sweden). According to the AA’s website, 205 children are injured in car crashes in the UK every year, and 21 are killed.” – RearFacing.co.uk
Where do their legs go?
I know it seems unusual, but it is perfectly safe and comfortable for a child to have their legs folded or propped up against the back seat. Children are much more flexible than us and often do the same thing when forward facing rather than letting their legs dangle. Your child will manage to find a position that they are happy with.
I want to be able to see them.
Use a mirror. We have this one which you can purchase from Amazon. We have used it from birth with our daughter. She loves being able to see us, and it is safer than turning around while driving.
I can’t afford it.
It is a common misconception that you have to spend hundreds to rear face. Yes, the “better” seats are up there in price, but there is suitable rear facing seats to fit most budgets, they are not all that costly.
Rear Facing Seats Under £100:
Join the Car Seat Advice group on Facebook for recommendations tailored to your circumstances.
We currently have the Joie Stages as it was the only suitable seat for our very old car. It wasn’t my first choice, but I do like it. My nearly two-year-old daughter is happy in it, and it is safe, but I am hoping to retire it to a family member now that we have a new car.
I’ve been longing for a seat that has passed the Swedish Plus Test for years now.
My dream seat is the rigorously tested Axkid Minikid (£295). It is a beautiful, compact chair that requires a minimal amount of space, which will be useful for my 6ft two husband.
It rear faces up to 25kg, and has the tallest shell, meaning it should fit my daughter who is following the 95th centile for weight and height much longer than any other seat I’ve seen.
The adjustable front leg means you can easily recline the chair for maximum comfort.
The Minikid has automatically tightening tether straps for seamless assembly, a unique feature that makes life easier, which is a great addition because these things are usually a nightmare for me.
How long did your child stay rear facing? Which seat do you use? I’d love to hear from you.