Extended rear facing is something which is still quite ‘new’ in the UK. And by many is seen as a ‘hippy’ thing to do. Well I babywear, am now ‘extended breastfeeding’, so why not go the whole hog 😉 No really I decided on extended rear facing for our Group 1 car seat because of safety. Because ultimately it is the safest option for children from 9 months to 4 years. ROSPA even recomend that children should be kept rear facing for as long as possible. Now I nor the experts are saying forward facing isn’t safe, of course it is or we wouldn’t all have been using them for the past few centuries. But what they are saying is that Rear facing is safer. A forward facing seat increases safety by 50% whereas a rear facing increases it to 90-95% (Source).
Rear facing is not a cheap option. Thats why I have waited until baba was at the maximum age for his infant car seat. Even at a year old he has been in his infant car seat, much to the shock of some of our friends! In the UK there is a trend that at 9 months, and sometimes earlier, babies are placed in forward facing Group 1 seats. In reality the infant seat should be used until they are the maximum weight, often 10-13kg. I knew at about 6 months that I wanted to buy a extended rear facing seat which is why I made a point of putting a little away each week and asking Babas grandparents and great grandparents for birthday money to go towards it. I know some of my family and friends can’t understand why when we struggle for money on a daily basis I have paid out £300 for a car seat when that money could pay bills or go towards moving costs. But as far as I was concerned the facts spoke for themselves and the only way I was going for a G1 car seat was rear facing.
Today we drove up to Milton Keynes, not the shortest journey from Heathrow, especially when theres a nasty accident causing tailbacks on the M25. But eventually we got there and arrived at the In Car Safety Centre. I know a number of fellow tweeters who have been there and had raved about it highly so after my local besafe stockist failed to impress me with their lack of stock and knowledge I knew I’d rather drive up here. And I’m so glad I did. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and know what they are talking about. Having done my research I knew what I was after and most of the differences between the seats but even so we still discussed a couple of options including the Britax seats. However they are lower down in the car and I wanted him to be able to see out of the windows which is why we went for a besafe, it also provides a better amount of leg room thanks to its ratchet and support arm. The lady who dealt with us showed me both ways to secure the seat, forward or rear facing, helped me to fit it in my own car and made sure I was able to do it myself. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it actually was to fit. I don’t have isofix so ours is fitted with tether straps which are secured to the seat unit of the passenger seat. A lot of people say that it affects the passenger seat leg room. Yes its smaller than maybe is ‘normal’ but its still comfortable, I know cause I sat in it for two hours coming home!
Am I pleased I forked out a large amount of money to know my son is in the safest possible seat? Yes! He seems to enjoy being more upright and able to see out the back window and the sides which he couldn’t in his infant seat.
There are some great resources for deciding if rear facing is for you. I haven’t been paid to mention any of these they are simply websites ive read back to back for months so check them out as they have tons of info and answer all your questions.
Securatot – which has a facebook page with albums of the different seats in different cars.