Extended Rear Facing Car Seats
Car Seats – to Forward Face or Rear Face, that is the question! I’m not a parenting guru and I will never proclaim to be because I don’t really believe it exists. I’m doing the best I can, like most loving parents, to nourish and encourage the development, happiness and wellbeing of my child, all whilst keeping him safe from harm.
As a mother I’ve learnt how to multi-task all of the above from trial and error, and with the help of advice (often in abundance) from
- reading blog posts and web pages.
- joining Facebook Groups.
- talking with parents.
- questioning medical professionals.
- reading the odd book.
- going with my gut.
You know … your average parenthood encyclopedia for the 21st century.
Patrick and my little boy, Smith, is thriving, chattering, energetic, lovely, bubbly, funny and beautiful. We spend our days talking, taking walks, dancing to music, reading books, building blocks, watching movies, eating home-cooking, exploring Ireland and the World, painting, baking and playing, lots of playing. Sounds perfect, and it is to us.
However there’s more to it all! You see I’m the mother who breast-fed but combined it with formula feeds because I wasn’t sure baby was getting enough milk (he most likely was). I’m the one who followed the every three days food introductory system when weaning our little boy, cooking everything from scratch, organic where possible but now is happy to add a big dollop of ketchup to his chicken, just so he eats it all up. I’m the mother who swore our son would know how to swim by two years old, especially because he adores the water so much, but only has two months to achieve this goal and hasn’t even signed up to classes yet. So I’m not the perfect parent, far from a guru with plenty of hits but also misses.
But where am I going with all this? Isn’t this post called “Why You Should Choose Extended Rear Facing Car Seats For Your Children” Yes it is, you’re right, and I’m just about to get to it now, because amongst all the “hits and the misses” of being a parent and a “good” one at that I especially didn’t want to “miss” on choosing the right follow on car seat for our little toddler for when he out grew his baby car seat (Group 0 and 0+ seats for babies up to 13kg in weight will be rear-facing). And I can proudly say, with the utmost conviction that we chose right and our choice to keep our little bundle of joy rear-facing until he reaches at least six years old is one of the most important and best hits yet!
If you haven’t considered keeping your child rear facing in your car, then I ask that you do consider it. It’s not too late to change car seats even if you’ve already gone forward facing!
Of course if you do decide to forward face your child, once the seat meets the European Car Seat Standards (see below for the new i-Size Standard), is installed correctly, is the right size for your child, and you don’t fasten your child into their seat with bulky coats or clothing then who am I to judge? And I’m not because I’m just another parent doing what they think is right.
Anyhoo, here’s …
Why You Should Choose Extended Rear Facing Car Seats For Your Children
THE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW
“Rear Facing Car Seats are 5 Times Safer than Forward Facing Car Seats” besafe.com
Toddlers bodies are still developing. The vertebrae in their little bodies are connected via cartilage rather than with ossified bone like us adults. An adult head is around 6% of their body weight, a 9-month old baby’s head is 25% of their body weight.
“Their heads are 25% of their bodyweight. If adults’ heads where the same proportions the head would weigh 20kg.” rearfacing.co.uk.
So with these simple facts it is of the greatest importance to protect these little bodies the best way we can when travelling in a car. Hence the reason for car seats.
“In a front crash, in a forward-facing seat, a baby’s neck is subjected to a force equivalent to 300-320kg – that’s about 47 stone of weight on a baby’s neck.” which.co.uk. This means that in a forward-facing car seat the childs’ neck and head are thrown violently forward putting an overwhelming force on their undeveloped head, neck and also their spine.
In a rear-facing car seat a child is protected from this impact because the rear-facing car seat provides a type of cocoon protection around the child.
But what about a rear or side crash? Well to answer this query, I found the answer from rearfacingtoddlers.com – “Rear end crashes only make up 5% of the total amount of car accidents, and usually occur at far lower speeds than frontal ones. 75% of all crashes are frontal and the remaining 20% are side impacts.” In actual fact in rear collisions the child in a rear facing seat is actually further away from the impact.
Sweden started focusing on rear-facing car seats in the 1960’s and rear face until four years of age. “Over a million rearward-facing seats are in use in Sweden, and we do not know of any cases where a child in a rearward-facing car seat has been seriously injured in a frontal collision.” carseat.se And because they practice what they preach, the Swedish Plus Test on car seats that are exclusively rear facing is the toughest in the world. With this in mind, seats that have passed the test can help you decide what seat to go for, but of course it’s not a necessity.
“Since 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that children be restrained rear-facing until at least age 2.” washingtonpost.com
In July 2013 the first “i-Size” compliant car seat was introduced. i-Size is the new European wide standard for car seats for children. It doesn’t replace the existing R44/04 Legislation but runs alongside. It’s there to provide additional safety and protection for children when travelling in cars. For more information visit i-size.org.uk.
SOME OF THE MYTHS ANSWERED
Rear Facing Car Seats won’t fit smaller cars – not true because it is possible to get the appropriately sized rear facing car seat for any size car.
Rear Facing Car Seats are extremely expensive – false again because there are a number of car seats available that are suitable for all budgets. Read reviews and shop around. Also take into consideration that if for example you do spend €220 on a car seat that can be used until your child is six years old, then the car seat will only cost you 70 cents a week! Besides putting a price on your child’s safety is priceless!
Your child’s legs will be uncomfortable – nope, in fact in most cases their legs are more comfortable as they relax into comfortable positions and don’t dangle.
Your child will be bored and won’t enjoy rear facing – your child will have views out the side and back window so they should actually be less bored!
You won’t be able to see your child when driving – of course you will, just install a mirror to the headrest of the back seat – or use the same one you used when they were a baby rear facing.
The RSA provide free fitting advice at designated Check it Fits Days nationwide in Ireland. To find out more visit RSA.ie/checkitfits
For the types of car seats available for both rear and forward facing visit RSA.ie here.
For Car Seat Tips for both rear and forward facing seats visit SafeKids.org here.
For information on the Swedish Rear Facing Seat Approach visit CarSeat.se here.
For a straight forward article called Extended rear-facing car seats read this one from BabyCentre.co.uk here
The Facebook Group Ireland – Rear Facing Car Seats for Toddlers and Children is absolutely brilliant. There isn’t a question too simple or too difficult for the many experienced members, so join and get involved in the discussions here
I hope this post has encouraged you to think twice about the type of car seat you choose for your little one. If you’d like to leave a comment with a question below, please do and I’ll do my best to help. If you’d prefer to contact me directly you can do so via social media or at firstname.lastname@example.org