Another extended rear facing family…

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!

BeSafe Combi Non Isofix in a Ford Focus

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.

Rearfacing.co.uk

In Car Safety Centre – Milton Keynes

Securatot – which has a facebook page with albums of the different seats in different cars.

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6 thoughts on “Another extended rear facing family…

  1. My little monster is almost at the 23lb weight limit for the group 0+ seat and I’ve been looking at what seat to get him next, not even sure they do rear facing seats here, they don’t deliver them here on Amazon though as I checked a while back. Not that I could actually afford one! I know that you can’t put a price on your childs safety but I can’t even afford a £100 seat at the moment let alone a £300 one! Surely if they are what’s recommended for child safety they should be made more accessible to people, well you’d think anyway. I did actually see an article the other day saying a child here should have their seat in the middle of the back seat as it’s the safest place in the car in the event of a crash, whereas I thought it was the least safe place!

    1. I know what you mean. Safety should be affordable but its kind of like cars really isn’t it, the safest are the most expensive, you pay for the safety sadly. Its frustrating but doesn’t seem like it willchange any time soon! 😦

  2. Great article thank you! and above all thank you for promoting the benefits of keeping children rearfacing for longer.
    Regarding product availability we were sorry to hear you could not find stock easily as we now have over 70+ stockists such as Anns Prams in Petersfield across the Country. There are areas in UK we still need to ‘fill in’ but the availability is growing quickly. All stockists are listed on our UK/ Ireland pages of our website. Thank you again – great.

  3. My 3-year old LOVES his rear facer which we got from a car shop on an industry estate in Windsor (they only had one type though).
    It has a metal frame that clicks into the isofix points, then the seat clicks onto the frame.

    I find it easier to get him into it than when I use it forward facing (we can also strap it into parents cars etc as a forward facer when we don’t have IsoFix or the metal frame).

    My favourite way of keeping him amused on long journeys is to ask him to wave to the car behind – it’s great seeing the driver and passenger wave back in the rear view mirror! 😉

    It was a major pain buying it though – as you found out, none of the big retailers seem to sell them and they look at you bemused when you ask about them. I remember the huge queue to see the car seat expert/professional when we bought his first seat at a chain store. We didn’t mind because they had “obviously spent a lot of time studying to become a qualified car seat fitter”. The illusion rather slipped when I went back for the rear facer and she said “oh no, they don’t make rear facing car seats that big”!

    The other thing that annoyed me about buying ours was VAT. Car seats (and bases) are in a special VAT bracket – see http://www.which.co.uk/news/2009/04/child-car-seats-vat-cut-for-isofix-bases-174948/ The car parts shop we bought ours from didn’t realise this – despite seats being 5% since 2001! (we bought ours in 2011). They charged us full VAT on both the seat and the base. When I pointed it out to them they did return the overpayment, but they don’t seem to have made any attempt to alter the prices on their online shop.

    They also wouldn’t return the money over the phone – I had to make a special trip over there (by bike, with son in the trailer – wife had the car) – in fact I had to do it twice because the manager wasn’t there the first time! Grrrrrr.

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