Dear Parents of 9month old babies considering your next sized carseat,
Did you know that keeping your child rearfacing in their stage 1 carseat (the one after the Stage 0 newborn -9months old so from birth) is FIVE times safer than moving them forward facing from 9months? This is because in a forward collision the impact pushes them back into their seat instead of forwards- forward facers in a collision are 90% more likely to suffer serious injuries and are more likely to break their necks/die.
The reason so many people don’t know this or use them is because rear facing carseats are rarer and can be more expensive. Forward Facing from 9months is the more dangerous “norm” in this country (In Scandinavia not so).
When I found out about this I insisted Oddler went into a rear facing carseat from when she outgrew her stage 0 at about 10.5months. After doing some research we bought online the Britax Two Way Elite from the incredibly helpful InCare Safety Centre (We used the videos online to help make sure we installed it properly). It cost £200 so £100 more than what we were anticipating spending on a carseat but we had my parents buy it for Oddler’s christmas present and the fact it would last her until 4 (25kgs) and had the possibility of going forward facing if she got to an age she hated to be rear facing then we thought this was the best option for us (we also dont have Isofix in our car).
Oddler is almost two and a half and she is totally happy being in a rear facing carseat even on long journeys. People often say “Oh but she can’t see what is going on” but that is rubbish- she has an entire unobstructed view out of the back window and can see out of the sides. They often seem suprised my toddler is still rear facing like I am “babying” her. The safety facts I pass on soon shuts them up, although I do feel bad when it’s other parents who have forward facing carseats- I don’t want to make people feel bad about the carseat they chose (especially when so few people know abour rear facing safety) but more to educate people in the safest option and get the word out there.
Yes there are very minor downsides to keeping her rearfacing- I can’t see what she is upto even if I turn around (not while driving!) but this is easily fixed by putting a mirror on the seat headrest in front of her so I can see out of my rearview mirror without turning around- so again that makes it safer than if she was forward facing as I would have to turn around for her. Also when she had a dummy to sleep for car journeys she would also often lose it down the side of the seat and we would have to stop to be able to rescue it for her but I think it would be similar if she was forward facing, she has got rid of the dummy now so it is no longer an issue. These are very minor niggles compared to the absolutely massive safety advantages. Plus it is easier to get her in and out of the carseat as you are putting her in the same way the car door opens, so no bracing yourself against the car door opened at its max to strap her in.
A few months ago I thought Oddler was getting too big for her rearfacing seat and I was worried I was going to have to turn her forward facing, she is in the 99.9th Centile and the size of a hefty (NOT FAT!) three year old. I tweeted my worries and PHEW- the lovely @13Loki who has the same carseat told me there is a part of the base that folds out and when you do this suddenly there is a heck of a lot more leg room for them. Hurrah- so Oddler is now safe in that carseat for another year at least. Annoyingly I have had my babies close together so in 6months or so we will need to buy another rear facing seat as Oddler won’t be ready to move up to the next stage car seat by the time Omble needs it, but never mind twill be a Christmas present from us all. It is so annoying these car seats are so expensive which is another reason for my post. The more consumer demand for these car seats there is, the more common these car seats are, the cheaper they will become. We need to demand more places stock them and they are much more affordable for all.
This post was fired up by reading yet more blogs/forum threads/ twitter discussions of parents moving their babies forward facing at 9months “so they can see the world” even if they haven’t grown out of their existing rear facing carseat (once the head extends over the top of the carseat is when they have outgrown it NOT when their legs extend out of the bottom- legs can bend) when there is a much safer better option.
If you found this information helpful please do pass it on, or pass on the links. I can be a bit evangelical about rear facing carseats (this isn’t a sponsored post by the way in any shape or form- haha can you imagine an PR wanting to get involved with my phallic avatar and vaginal yeast infection name- Methinks not- this blog will only ever have me rambling about stuff I love for no gain whatsoever (like this and will publish my dear Mooncup one soon!), in fact I hope I don’t bring any of my fave brands into disrepute with my Curdy ways! )
Lots of Love
Oddler in her carseat