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To buy an extended rear-facing car seat for only one of my children?

(23 Posts)
megandraper Wed 10-Oct-12 11:26:48

I have been slowly convinced (by MN) that extended rear-facing car seats are best.

DD (15 months and 12 kilos) is growing out of her current car seat and needs a new one. I have decided to get an extended rear facing one - and have another thread (in Car Seats) asking questions about the Klippan Triofix.

However my two DSs (5 years and 18 kilos, and 3 years and 14 kilos) are still in the range of extended rear-facing car seat territory. They both have forward facing seats now. DS1 is in a high-back booster, and DS2 in the Britax Duo Plus Group 1 seat (and I have a FF high-back booster ready for him when he's a bit bigger).

AIBU to leave my DSs in their current FF car seats? Should I buy rear-facing car seats for one or both DSs too? They only go in the car at weekends (I don't drive) and rarely for trips longer than about half an hour.

Ready to listen to any views.

FayeKinitt Wed 10-Oct-12 11:47:35

I would say it doesn't really matter if they only go in the car occasionally, the fact remains that when they're in the car, they are at risk of harm. How guilty would you feel if the car was involved in a crash and one of your sons was seriously injured or worse?

megandraper Wed 10-Oct-12 11:59:27

'How guilty would you feel if the car was involved in a crash and one of your sons was seriously injured or worse?'

But you could say that to any parent who EVER puts their child in a car, Faye. Extended rear-facing car seats do not mean the child is 100% safe.

BartletForTeamGB Wed 10-Oct-12 12:01:28

If I could only afford one, I'd put the youngest one (and therefore the one with the biggest head proportionally) in the RF car seat. Yes, ideally, they would all be RF, but the benefits are really for the younger ones.

megandraper Wed 10-Oct-12 12:03:38

That's interesting, Bartlet, I didn't know that the benefit is linked to proportional head size.

BartletForTeamGB Wed 10-Oct-12 12:10:03

It is because the younger you are, the heavier your head is in proportion to the rest of your body, so is more prone to the shearing forces of being thrown back and forth which then can do damage to your head, neck and spine.

I'm planning on keeping DS RF for as long as he fits in his car (so to 4 years probably).

BartletForTeamGB Wed 10-Oct-12 12:10:11

*car seat

megandraper Wed 10-Oct-12 12:32:15

I suppose that's what i'm thinking - most RF seats are only to about age 4, so my 5yo is probably too old (although I think there are some RF seats that can go longer?). So that means it's whether I should get one for my 3.3 yo, who has a year at most to go.

CokeFan Wed 10-Oct-12 12:37:26

I'd say you'd get almost no use out of a RF seat for the oldest one. We have a Britax Two Way Elite. DD is 4.1 and almost at the top of the seat (so nearly ready to be turned forward facing). She's 15.8Kg so not above the weight limit yet but she's got a long back. Looking at the description of the Klippan Triofix, if you bought that for your oldest you'd effectively have bought a really expensive high backed booster because he'd have to use it forward facing with the seatbelt.

It's probably also not worth it for the second DS - especially since he's only in the car at weekends and has already been forward facing for some time.

I'm definitely in favour of ERF. I would say that new car seats are being developed all the time and you wouldn't just pick the same car seat for your third DC as your first just to make it "fair".

The other issue is fitting 3 RF car seats in the back of the car (unless you have a 7 seater?). They do tend to take up more room so you might find you can't get more that one or two in alongside the other FF one.

hellymelly Wed 10-Oct-12 12:44:14

My dd is only now, a couple of months off 8, in a ff seat, having outgrown her rf one. (she is tallish but very light). So you may well get longer than you imagine out of a rf seat.

megandraper Wed 10-Oct-12 14:06:38

The more I look into it, the more conflicted I get. It is very difficult to work out the facts.

We have a 2007 Citroen Picasso. It's a 5-seater, and not particularly big, but it does currently fit 3 car seats easily and safely (a Group 0-1 rear facer and a Britax Duo Group 1 on each side with ISOFIX and a high-back booster in the middle with the seat belt.)

I wish there was somewhere we could go, with the car and the chlldren, and be shown what's the safest and what would fit in our car. But that doesn't seem to exist.

Have been reading up a bit more now, and see that there are a couple of rear-facing seats which go up to 25kg, so DS1 (18kg) would get use out of that.

Helly - do people comment on your nearly-8yo in a rear-facer? I don't know anyone with even a 3yo in a rear-facer (not a reason not to do it, obviously).

I wish I'd known about all this up front, and would have stayed with rear-facing all the way.

caeleth Wed 10-Oct-12 15:35:03

Here in Norway it's recommended to keep children rear facing till 4. So imo the eldest is fine ff, but maybe take middle one and test rf seat and if it looks like he'll be able to use it for a while then i'd probably get one. Otoh, if he's going to outgrow it in 6months i'd consider it a bit too costly. A lot of kids here do swap around a little before 4 when they outgrow their current seats.

caeleth Wed 10-Oct-12 15:39:05

Just to add - weight ranges on carseats hardly mean anything as height and build play such a huge part in how long a seat will last for. So do physically test each child in a seat. Can you not test the seats in the car as well? All shops here let you test them in the car (and with the kids)...

worldgonecrazy Wed 10-Oct-12 15:44:14

The eldest is old enough to be safe ff - obviously it's not ideal as even adults would do better to be rearfacing.

If you can afford it for the youngest two, I'd definitely look into it. The most important one is the very youngest as they have a larger head/body ratio and are more at risk from spinal injury in an accident.

megandraper Wed 10-Oct-12 15:46:04

Thanks casleth. It's really hard to find a retailer who sells extended rear-facing seat in the UK. It seems our closest one is in Milton Keynes which is a four hour drive away. So trying the seats out is not easy.

At the moment I am looking at the Britax Two Way Elite for my youngest. (All this is complicated by the fact that our car has underfloor storage compartments so can't use seats with supporting legs - which is most of them).

I have emailed the guys at the Swedish rear-facing car seat company (who ship to the UK) asking for advice.

I think I will buy a seat for DD. Then, when it arrives (and assuming we can fit it okay) I will get DS2 to try sitting in it and we can see if it looks like he'd get much use out of it. If he would, then I will get another one for him.

That's my current plan. Might change again.

worldgonecrazy Wed 10-Oct-12 16:14:18

bedhopper if you phone the company in Milton Keynes, they give great advice and are familiar with how seats fit in most makes of car. It might be worth giving them a call if you're not sure which seat to go for.

BeSafe are another company worth looking at - they have really excellent customer care.

megandraper Wed 10-Oct-12 16:54:29

Thanks World. I rang the Milton Keynes one, and they were really helpful - though they didn't seem to think it was worth putting the 5yo and 3yo in rear-facing. It's from their advice that I'm leaning toward the Two Way Elite for DD. But MK is a long way to go, and the lady on the phone said that they couldn't guarantee that their courier wouldn't bash the car seat about (and said they weren't that well packaged).

So I'm looking at the Swedish car seat company now - they have a note on their website that their courier is particularly careful with the car seats and they're well packaged. I just want to see what they advise, and will probably buy from them.

Will think about contacting BeSafe though - thanks for that tip.

BartletForTeamGB Wed 10-Oct-12 17:22:06

We got ours from Besafe & were very impressed with their customer service.

FayeKinitt Wed 10-Oct-12 17:41:12

No I didn't explain myself very well. I meant an injury incurred that, if one of your sons had been facing rearward, wouldn't have happened.

CokeFan Wed 10-Oct-12 18:51:57

We drove to MK (from Bath) grin. It was a long day. The car seat people there are lovely though.

caeleth Wed 10-Oct-12 18:55:44

Aah, that sucks. Much easier here then. You could try getting measurements as they really should know how long kids the seats work for, but if its the same model for both your plan sounds like a good one!

caeleth Wed 10-Oct-12 19:26:15

Do you have isofix in your car?

megandraper Thu 11-Oct-12 11:38:14

Yes, two ISOFIX seats (the window seats) although they have underfloor storage compartments, which complicates things for ERF seats.

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