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Rearfacing car seat confusion

(24 Posts)
Sassles Tue 04-Jan-11 20:02:46

I am sooooo confused now. I've been on forums here and read various links to literature about how we should have our LO's in rear facing carseats until they are four years old as it is safer in a collision. Great i thought and went off to google buying one. Found a local shop which has them to check they fit car etc, but then I looked on Which? and they got terrible, terrible safety reviews in any kind of collision. They were getting scores of 27% and were in the Don't buy lists.

I'm now very confused! There are statistics for rear facing being safer in crasher, yet the car seats performed much worse in crash tests than front facing for the same age/weight range.

Brain exploded!

PrincessScrumpy Tue 04-Jan-11 20:43:09

Ooooh, I'd be interested to see what others think.

DD would have gone crazy facing backwards at 18 months, she kept stretching round and screamed a lot about going into her seat from 15 months.

Abr1de Tue 04-Jan-11 20:45:40

I think the rear-facing seat business post about six months is a bit OTT myself. There doesn't seem to be a lot of information to show it would save many lives and it must be insanely boring for older babies and toddlers.

aPixieInMyCaramelLatte Tue 04-Jan-11 20:51:32

It has been proved to be 5times safer than ff seats. And I would never put a baby in a forward facing seat at just 6 months. Would anyone?

Anyway.... It is not insanely boring. They can see FAR more rear facing than they can forward facing.

Which? give them bad reviews due to (If I remember correctly) testing them forward facing even though they are rear facing car seats and for difficulty to instal which is crap because just as any car seat, once you know how it's fine.

Have a read of the Rear Facing website. Some great information.

My ds1 is 21 months and is rear facing in a Britax two way elite. And he will stay there until he outgrows it around 4yrs old.

I don't care if he finds it boring one day (which he won't coz he hates forward facing) because i'd rather he cry out of boredom than suffer any number of the awful injuries that could happen in a forward facing car seat.

aPixieInMyCaramelLatte Tue 04-Jan-11 20:53:51


Also some good but sad stories on youtube about extended rear facing vs forwards facing

Car seat crash test ff vs rf

thisisyesterday Tue 04-Jan-11 20:54:24

ok. you need to remember that Which scores are not based purely on safety.
they are a consumer report. among other things their scores are based partly on how the seats look, how many colours they come in etc etc

secondly, some of the seats can be used rear AND forward facing. Which uses the "worst" results when they publish them. for a lot of the seats this would be the forward facing results.
so utterly irrelevant as no-one purchasing an ERF seat would be doing so in order to use it FF!!

most ERF seats have more steps to fit than a regular FF seat. this is because they nearly all have tether straps, among other things.
the number of steps automatically lowers their score. it doesn't matter that these steps may be easy, or that they make the seat safer. more steps=lower score

also worth remembering that these seats continually top the safety tests in Scandinavia which are far more stringent than the ones over here and are based PURELY on safety of the seat rather than anything else.

yes, if the seat is fitted incorrectly it will be less safe. but ANY seat can be fitted incorrectly and I would argue that having more fitting steps does not automatically make it more difficult to fit or more likely to be fitted incorrectly

parents buying a rear-facing seat are far more likely to be very aware of the need to have it fitted correctly because they're clearly very safety conscious! if you have a local shop that stocks them you can also get them to fit it and make sure you know exactly how it is done

lindsell Tue 04-Jan-11 20:56:04

As I understand it the tests that Which do are only done forward facing so rear facing seats which are designed to be safest rear facing and to be used rear facing are tested forward facing hmm that's why the test results appear worse. If you look at tests carried out in other countries where they properly test the seats rear facing then you will see that they are considerably safer. Also there are many videos of the crash tests on youtube etc which show that rear facing is much much safer for the majority of accidents.

My ds is 20mths and is in a rearfacing seat, we've just done a 1,000 mile round trip over christmas and he was absolutely fine the whole way. He doesn't have a problem with being rear facing as long as he has plenty of toys and books to entertain him! He can see well out of the rear of the car (we have an estate) and he is always pointing out things he can see.

Having seen some of the videos of crash tests comparing ff with rf there is no way I personally would have my ds in a ff seat at this age. I will keep him rf as long as possible.

If you post on the car seats topic you'll get many more knowledgeable people posting!

thisisyesterday Tue 04-Jan-11 20:56:57

oh and re: boredom

we switched ds2 from forward facing to rear-facing when he was 2. he LOVED it!
he still rear-faces at just over 3, and will do until he outgrows the seat.

ds3 has never been forward facing, he is 18 months and has never complained either

they can see more in an ERF seat than they can in a FF seat.
forward facing you can only look out the side window- the view in front of you is the front seat!
rear-facing they can see out the side and the back

cleanandclothed Tue 04-Jan-11 21:07:46

Would be very interested in seeing the Which article - did they comment on the poor performance of rear facing seats? What were the tests.

Have asked fireman re car crashes and he believed rear facing was safer. Similarly miltary aircraft I believe have rear facing seats for safety as well.

cleanandclothed Tue 04-Jan-11 21:13:50

Cross posted with people giving more info! I like DS in a rear facing seat because (apart from the safety) it means his toys dont fall on the floor so much, because they are in between him and the seat back rather than being able to fall forwards as they would in a FF seat.

Mobly Tue 04-Jan-11 21:32:25

Rear facing Stage 1/2 car seats would be no less boring than forward facing, in actual fact they are positioned higher so toddler can see out back window and side window. The 'boredom' argument for forward facing car seats is one of the most stupid things I've ever heard.

Sassles Wed 05-Jan-11 11:16:14

Thank you for all your comments.

I have looked a bit more on Which? The explain that..

"It (Britax Multi-tech rearfacing) earns the Don't Buy recommendation because even though its crash protection in rear-facing Group 1 mode is acceptable, it is so difficult to install correctly, the chances of getting it wrong are too high, opening up a severe risk that this crash protection will be compromised. Front crash protection in forward-facing Group 1 and 2 modes is also poor."

It eared 3 out of 5 stars for front and side impact crashes when in rear facing mode.

It does point you to the Recaro Polaric which gets 5 stars for front crashes, but says it only has acceptable (3 stars) for side crashes and is not as good as some market leaders. They also scored it quite low as it is a very large seat and very heavy.

thisisyesterday Wed 05-Jan-11 13:12:22

the problem is that front on collisions are the most dangerous.

the biggest risk from a front-on collision with a child in a FF seat is internal decapitation. google or look on youtube for Joel's story

i would gladly take a 3 star rating (and i'd be interested how they do their safety testing too btw) for side impacts in exchange for a 5 star frontal crash rating

have a look on I think Helena has posted links to some of the scandinavian crash test results on there which are very different!

Sassles Wed 05-Jan-11 17:23:44

What I don't get is why which score them ok on crash safety, but their top best buys are almost all infant rear facing carriers?

thisisyesterday I'll check out the site.

Norabattystights Wed 05-Jan-11 22:05:22

We bought a Besafe carseat which are manufactured in Norway. They are on the rear facing website I think but they sell them in the uk although we couldn't find any stores that stocked them so we bought ours online. £300 but is rear facing until he's four so well worth the money.

thisisyesterday Wed 05-Jan-11 22:23:53

yeah we have a besafe too. cost us £250 from the in car safety centre in milton keynes

we also have a britax 2 way elite, bought from same place

Sassles Tue 11-Jan-11 11:28:34

I did a lot of googling and went to a specialist place in East Kilbride (Jan Stewarts). I bought a Recaro Polaric (rear facing till four).

Not sure he will fit in it till four, but if he is too big for it, he will be big enough for the next size up and at that point I will be more comfortable about forwarf facing.

The other seats in the Recaro range look fantastic too. They had a great forward facing seat and I was almost sold on it, but remembered the whole point was to get the rear facing. Think I will be going back there for the next seat up in a few years.

I had bought the Britax Prince, which mumsnet really rate, but I fitted this in my mum's car yesterday for my nephew and it felt so flimsy after my Recaro which is isofix and tethers to the back of the front seats. It just seemed to move about alot even thought I had fitted it properly and was glad I had spent the extra cash on a seat that doesn't move and is very safe.

AngelDog Tue 11-Jan-11 21:02:38

Glad you managed to get a seat, OP.

In case anyone else reading is interested, the BMJ did a study which found that rear-facing is much safer. (They found a number of fatalities in forward facing seats which could have been prevented by the use of rear-facing seats.).

We've also got a Britax 2-way elite from the In-Car Safety Centre in Milton Keynes (thanks to thisisyesterday for the recommendation).

My 12 m.o. DS loves it - so much comfier than the first car seat we had. If we're on long journeys one of us always travels in the back with him, and he loves being able to interact with us face to face. He can also turn his head and see the driver.

On a long journey on Saturday evening he spent all the time going 'eh' at the moon and streetlights that he could see out of the rear window.

indigobarbie Tue 11-Jan-11 22:20:06

Sassles, how did you find the recaro? I have a rearfacing izi combi isofix in my car, but am looking for a more portable isofix for the grandparents seat? I know where Jan Stewarts is, I think the recaro is the only rearfacing they have? Thanks (sorry for hijack)

Sassles Wed 12-Jan-11 11:31:27

Hi Indigo,

Jan Stewarts of the besafe as well as the recaro. Recaro looks quite quick to take in and out, but you need isofix and there are also tethers to the seat in front. The tethers may be fiddly to remove, but think you can use the seat without the tethers. They are extra security I think.

Love it so far. It has a recline function, but it really doesnt recline at all, but my almost 8 month old has fallen asleep at every car journey so far with no issues. I'm not sure how long the seat will last for as DS looks snug in it, but think they grow up rather than out from now on?? By the time he is too big for it, he will be ready for next seat up anyway.

Speak to Derek at Jan Stewarts, he is very knowledgable and really rate Recaro as a brand. He thinks the Besafe is over priced. It is the Jan Stewarts at Kingsgate beside Sainsburys, not the pram centre a bit down the road.

Sassles Wed 12-Jan-11 16:59:28

Meant to say Indigobarbie that my answer is a bit vague as only had it a few days and not had to remove it from the car yet. Going mainly on how it was installed at the shop.

indigobarbie Wed 12-Jan-11 22:32:33

Cool, thanks for that Sassles. Yip I saw they were at Kingsgate now, pretty handy! Not vague at all Besafe probably are overpriced, but I don't fancy trying to uninstall it to move it to another car any time soon - think I'll take a look at the weekend at the recaro's they look lovely and softly padded. Cheers

Lucky13 Thu 13-Jan-11 18:18:29

Indigobarbie - i have the isofix izi combi and I can move it quite easily between our cars.

It is heavy, but once you get the hang of fitting it, I would say it takes no more than 5 mins to move between cars.

Get your car ready to accept the seat. Then go to the seat and just release and move back in the isofix arms and don't take the leg apart. Then use the ratchet thing to move back the handle bit all the way.
I pick it up with the handle and swivel it a bit to get it out.
The worst bit is carrying it to the other car! Then reverse the process.

I'm only small and not very strong, but I certainly don't find it difficult to move.

indigobarbie Thu 13-Jan-11 20:59:51

Hey lucky, thanks for that. I should actually give it a try, but I need to know that the grandparents will fit it themselves OK without me! I just have to double check everything as the control freak I am smile

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