Home » General » Rear Facing – The Way Forward for us

Rear Facing – The Way Forward for us

As the arrival of our new baby inches ever closer, it became time to think about the next stage car seat for Daniel.

The current seat he is using was given to us by family and is a belted silver cross seat. Its done the job, and if it wasn’t for the fact we have a new arrival soon, Daniel would be staying in this seat for a good while longer. The guidance on when to switch them to the next seat is when they outgrow the current seat. He has not yet reached the weight limit for his seat, nor is his head over the back.

When Daniel was still in the newborn phase, I read this blog post by Fiona, and it registered as something to consider down the line…. a year later and I am much more clued up on the rear facing seat debate, and over the weekend we purchased a rear facing seat for Daniel.

For us, once we started reading about the increased safety of a rear facing seat it was a no brainer, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with Daniel facing forward and I’d never want to be in the position of having an accident and wondering… what if he’d been in a rear facing seat.

It is really complex when looking at new seats, in part because the law is in that slow process of change….. it is expected that by 2030 all cars and infant car seats will be ‘i-size’ compliant. I-size is the new EU wide standard for infant car seats. It so new that, as far as I know, only one car has passed the i-size standard and only one seat – The Maxi-Cosi 2-way Pearl. No manufacturer has yet made a baby carrier to the i-size standard but they’re working hard at it.

Many mums that I have spoken to as we talked about which seats we would get were keen to move their baby into a forward facing seat, but your child doesn’t know any different and it is so much safer for them to be rear facing – the recommendation is to seat them rear facing until they are 105cm or 4 years old. I am amazed at how many parents just don’t know about the changes in regulations to car seats and the options with regard to rear and forward facing and the differing levels of safety. Current guidance for the UK is that children should be rear facing until at least 15 months old.  Daniel reaches that mile stone next week.

The information available on the internet is really confusing, so we decided to go to a specialist shop for advice, and to try a number of seats in our car. We went to Pram World in Wigan, but this excellent website provides details of other retailers across the country. We decided against mothercare or John Lewis as they don’t tend to specialise in rear facing seats, nor are their staff trained to the same level of knowledge and expertise (due to the broad range of things they sell).

The staff at pramworld were excellent, explaining the different seats to us and taking time to make sure they fit in our car. We tried three of the rear facing seats in our car, and we opted for the Maxi Cosi 2-way Pearl (with isofix base). We chose this one because I liked how secure the head area looked, it is i-size compliant and has been rigorously tested, over and above the minimum test thereshold and it fit well into our car. Because of the nature of the seat, it has to be fitted professionally, so as the warehouse was closed on Sunday when we went, I am off there again this afternoon to collect the seat and have it installed. We also decided that we would switch our baby carrier to an isofix seat, either the maxi cosi pebble or cabrio-fix, I will decide when I have a look at them later. Again, based on safety. The isofix seats seem to be far more secure, and we will buy another 2-way pearl when the baby moves into the next seat in due course, so having the isofix base now means we reduce the cost later on.

mc2waypearl_modern-black

Some comments I have seen is that rear facing seats are expensive, they are, there is no way of getting away from that. But we knew we had this expense coming up and so we have been saving money earnt from a cashback website over the past year, and that has covered the cost of both the new seats more or less. For us we just didn’t want to risk a forward facing seat.

 

Did you opt for a rear facing seat? Did you find it easy to understand the options available?

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10 thoughts on “Rear Facing – The Way Forward for us

  1. Here in the USA it’s the law to have all babies under one year in a rear facing seat unless they out grow their seat. I’ve been reading that it is safest to keep babies under two rear facing. We did this with our daughter. I would happy to keep her rear facing longer but my husband thought she would be happier facing forward. She is happier.

    • I think it’s really complex over here in the UK, and since I have written this post a couple of people have tweeted to say they didn’t even know there was a rear facing option post baby carrier seat, and others who, like me, found the whole thing really confusing.

      It’s a shame as the rear facing seats are expensive, but I can only hope that as more people become aware of their existence and their better safety record that in turn will see more buying them and the price driven down as they become the standard. Certainly in the year since Fiona posted her blog and I bought our seat I have seen more people talking about rear facing post baby carrier, which can only be a good thing.

      There is a still a long way to go though to make people more aware of the seat options etc x

  2. Alex is still rf in his infant carrier for now and will be until he outgrows it but will then go forward facing. Seb is forward facing and has been since just under a year(he was a long baby and outgrow the carrier quickly), the reason for us putting him in a ff seat is that we don’t have our own car so needed a seat that would safely fit into the various cars it is used in and that would be easy for different people to put in and out of their cars, we ensured that the seat we got would be simple for people to use as of course it is so important that the seat is fitted correctly. I looked into lots of seats before settling on one.
    Cost is an issue, when people are struggling to put food on the table and keeping a roof over their heads, i can see the temptation of a £25 ff carseat over the expensive rf options out there especially if they like us don’t own a car and the seat is only used a couple of times a year. I really dislike the what price on safety viewpoint, it makes it sound like these parents care less which of course is simply not true.

    • Hi Emma,

      I completely agree, if you don’t use a car regularly etc then spending the sort of money we have just spent on car seats is hard to justify. Daniel is in our car on a regular basis, either pottering around to playgroups etc or going vising family (my husbands family are all a t least a 30 minute car journey away) so for us it really does make sense to make the outlay. We put the seat in my parents car yesterday and it was actually easier and quicker to do than his old belted carrier had been which is great. If we didn’t have a car though then Daniel would be less frequently in one and I doubt we would have justified the expense and outlay. However, for us given that we knew this cost was coming up we budgeted for it and for us it really did make sense.

      It’s interesting that since posting this someone on twitter and another on a FB group commented that they didn’t know RF was an option post infant carrier, and I know one mum who moved her baby to FF at 3 months(!).

      What I find frustrating is when people buy a flash new car but then buy the cheapest baby seat they can find…. I know one girl who opted for a cheap seat from Asda because to pay for the RF seat that she wanted meant she wouldn’t have been able to have her hair extensions done that month…. For me this is where the ‘what price on safety’ stuff comes in – forgo the hair extensions and get your child the seat you want and can afford to if you forgo a (in my opinion!) major luxury.

      I think there needs to be more work done on raising awareness of the options and safety standards and hopefully as RF becomes the norm, the prices drop down so they are more affordable for everyone xx

  3. My son is 6 months but very tall and looking squished in his baby carrier so I have been looking at new car seats. Like you I think that rear facing is a bit of a no-brainer when you look at the safety statistics. The difference in price though seems outrageous – £340 for rear facing or £40 for forward facing! I can understand why parents would choose (or have no real option but) to go forward facing. I’m looking at the Britax Dual Fix which like the maxi-cosi has the option to go forward facing. I don’t think we will use that option but because the Britax swivels you can have it facing the door while you get your child in and out.
    Hopefully the price of rear facing seats will come down as they become more popular and when the new regulations come in.

    • The price difference is madness, but then the cheaper ones aren’t tested to the same standards, I think the minimum test standard is 20mph (I may be wrong but I remember when I was told the minimum test I was very surprised!). Maxi code and others test their seats at higher speeds and more rigorously so it inevitably incurs extra cost.

      I expect that as rear facing becomes the norm, the cost will come down as forward facing seats are phased out, at least I hope so? I’m just glad I read Fiona’s blog last year so I was able to at least start saving for the cost of ether rear facing seat, rather than be shocked and not have the cash ready.

      Nor maxi cosi is forward facing too, but it won’t be used that way. He will be forward facing when he goes into the high backed booster seats at around 4 years old x

  4. My son is now nearly five and 4 years ago when we moved from baby carrier to RF seat I was staggered so few people Rfaced and how hard it was to find and fit a seat. We had ours imported and he was in it til about 40 months. I was sure by now it would be the norm for toddlers to RF but apparently not, I guess people just compare FF and RF seats on price alone unfortunately.

    • I think the information is just really not out there, most people I have spoken to go to mothercare or John Lewis and they mostly stock forward facing ones, and because they sell a wide range of baby and toddler products they don’t have the expertise and knowledge on rear facing seats.

      The place we visited was brilliant and were really clear on what the regulations are now, what they are moving to and could answer all our questions etc. I think as the regulations change even more, rear facing will be the norm, but not for another ten years or so x

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