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Rear-facing car seats to 18kg in Britain Campaign!!!

(133 Posts)
justforinfo Wed 23-Mar-11 19:43:57

Hey guys!

I am a child seat fitter at a large child seat supplying store (I don't think i'd be allowed to say which one!) and I have recently read about rear-facing seats to the age of 4 and after doing some intense research have found that the offer optimum safety for children. They are the norm in Scandinavian countries where child fatalities in crashes are near enough 0 every year. Britax, Graco etc all stress on the websites for scandinavian countries that children should be rear-facing untill they are about 4 years of age but there is no mention of this anywhere on the British sites. The British medical journal stresses that rear-ward facing is the safest option. So why are these seats not widely known about? Why are they not in big stores like the one I work in? Apparently it's because British parents don't want them. So are they trying to say British parents don't value their children's lives? The customers i've spoken to about these rearward facing seats had never heard of them and were shocked they were not being given information that would potentially save their child's life! These seats were not even mentioned in ANY of my training.

It's only through my own personal research I do to make sure i'm offering the best and safest options to parents did I find out about them!

I am currently trying to raise awareness of these seats and to get some at least on display in the company I work for. At the minute this is pretty single-handed!

I'd love to know what your views are on the seats and if you would like the option to have a seat that is 5 times safer?

I'd need alot of support to make any changes to what is supplied in store, but if parents are contacting big chains that supply child seats and asking why they are not being offered these seats it will change! Consumer pressure works wonders and I am at a loss to see how "health and safety Britain" has missed this!

I may just be talking out my backside and parents may be perfectly happy with the traditional seat but i'd appreciate the feedback all the same. Please take a moment to look at this website and watch the crash tests.

Sorry about the essay!

tigermummy35 Wed 23-Mar-11 19:50:23

Thanks for the info, but you are preaching the converted in here. A lot of rear facing gurus and obcessives on this site. That said, if it weren't for the rear face folk on here, I wouldn't have found out about the dangers and wouldn't have bought the car seat that we will soon be using.

As a parent, I believe we are being treated very badly by the car seat manufacturers and wish you luck with the campaign.

justforinfo Wed 23-Mar-11 19:58:22

Thank you for the reply If enough people comment to say they would have liked to have been told about it in store it'll give me a bit more fuel for when I have to speak with the big bosses!

ethelina Wed 23-Mar-11 20:04:20

I am in total agreement with you and would support your campaign. My son is not yet old enough for a stage 1 seat, I have been looking ahead though, and if I hadn't been on Mumsnet I wouldn't have known about extended rearfacing seats. Now I do, I am perturbed there are only 2 or 3 rearfacing seats marketed in Britain.

I would like to see much more widespread information and advice from both official bodies and the retailers and manufacturers.

I would like to be able to walk into Mothercare or Halfords and pick one off the shelf as I could for any other seat.

I would like it to become the norm. for any seat to be rearfacing unless the car is too small to take it.

DancingThroughLife Wed 23-Mar-11 20:08:06

I already have an extended rear facing seat, but I had to travel 50 miles to get it. I would love for more of the national chains to stock them, so they are seen as another viable alternative and so I don't get a hmm face when I tell people about DD being extended rear facing.

FlingonTheValiant Wed 23-Mar-11 20:12:54

I'm in the same position as Ethelina. DS doesn't need stage 1 yet, but having read about extended RF on here I'll be looking to get a RF seat. What worries me is that with so few places selling them it's going to mean a long trip to find somewhere that can help us fit one etc.

I would love to see them available more widely. And I appreciate that for now it would be difficult to have trained fitters everywhere, but it would be nice if they did some kind of roadshow. E.g. John Lewis, Mothercare and Halfords all train one or two fitters in each region and then have them in certain shops on advertised days, so that people can access the information and the service mire easily.

justforinfo Wed 23-Mar-11 20:14:32

Thank you all! The comments are valued and it'll really help me push this with my bosses

FessaEst Wed 23-Mar-11 20:16:27

We had to go for a weekend break to get our rear facing stage one seat for DD. I made a point of asking in local Halfords/mothercare/baby shops etc, just to bring up the issue, but was met with clueless stares. I have spread the word though, and 2 other mums I know bought their DCs rf seats too.

ramblingmum Wed 23-Mar-11 20:18:23

There definatly needs to be more choice of rear facing seats and more info for people selling/fitting seats.
Even with the seats avaliable there can be poor advice. I bought a britax first class at Halfords and the guy fitting it really didn't know why I wanted it fitted rearfacing as my bb was 18 months and just over 9kg. he kept telling me she could go frontfacing. She is small so should be able to keep her rearfacing in this seat till she is about 3y.

latrucha Wed 23-Mar-11 20:20:41

I've just moved my son into a front-facing carseat. I would have loved to have bought a safer one had I known they existed. And, if it helps with your bosses, I would have paid a premium for it too.

Good luck.

DancingThroughLife Wed 23-Mar-11 20:31:27

Latrucha, you do pay a premium for them smile

I think they should be slightly cheaper, then more people would be encouraged to buy them. The cost is prohibitive if you're on a budget, or need to kit out two cars for two kids for example. However it's worth the expense knowing the kids are safer.

I may have talked a local independent retailer into stocking rear facing seats this week smile Happy days! No 3-hour round trip next time with any luck!

shufflebum Wed 23-Mar-11 20:32:03

I found out about extended RF from Mumsnet. I had to travel over an hour to get it but well worth the time and money.
RF seats should be available from all retailers that sell car seats, no excuses and it definitely has nothing to do with the colours!

justforinfo Wed 23-Mar-11 20:38:32

from what i've seen online of the seats you can get them from around £250 on the net, so obviously no trained person fitting it! But if you get a group 0 seat and base you can look at about £150 - £200 and for a half decent group 1 around £150 so I guess it doesn't work out too much more expensive in the long run.
And that's fab DancingThroughLife! It's great to know they'd be accepted!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 23-Mar-11 20:41:21

They make them here then export them. Where's the sense behind that?

I was keen to get a rf seat for ds2 (didn't know about them for ds1) but there's no where near here that I can go to see one and get it checked in both of our cars - 3 hours each way in 2 cars isn't very practical!

It would be fab if a High St store stuck their neck out and began stocking rf seats, I'm sure others would follow suit and the prices would begin to drop.

Aonach Wed 23-Mar-11 20:51:21

A good friend suggested a rear facing as DS approached 9 months. After doing research we decided it was far safer. We have bought both our seats online and had them shipped from Sweden. We have spent in excess of £600 on two car seats. Money wise i dont grudge it as my ds safety is paramont but for others it is an issue. It scares me how many of my friends are totally unaware of risk if forward facing, even my friend who's a GP.

It would be brilliant if high street stores would pick up on the research and make them more available.

mybootsaremuddy Wed 23-Mar-11 20:56:02

We heard about erf seats from a doctor friend of ours who found out about it from reading the BMJ magazine.

We will be getting the Britax two way elite for ds when he reaches 9kg as we know it will fit all our vehicles. But there is only one place in the uk that sells it and its miles and miles away so will take us all day to go get it fitted. We need to get 3 but as its so far away we are just going to get one fitted in my car and have a go there to check with the fitters that we do it right then bring the other 2 back to fit in dhs and the nannys car ourselves. We would be much happer if they were all fitted by a professional but it would be impractical to take all 3 cars to MK.

I would love to see erf seats in all the major baby goods retailers, and for more info about the benifits of erf to be out there for parents to see. I think the only reason more parents dont get these seats is because they dont actualy know about them rather then that they dont value their childrens lives. I think there is a serious lack of info out there and the major retailers are missing out here im sure if parents knew about the bennifits of theses seats then more would want them. At the end of the day our children are our most treasured possesion and we all want whats best for them and do all we can to protect them.

TruthSweet Wed 23-Mar-11 22:07:30

I always talk about it when I go in to Mothercare and need to speak to a member of staff about something (even if it is completely unrelated blush).

I found out about ext.rf on an American site (US as they were all drooling over European seats (not making the distinction between Scandinavian/Western European countries grin) and I decided to get one - I now have two and I love them. I just wish I didn't have to go online or travel 100s of miles to get one.

If you are with Mothercare please push for it to be more recognised. The catalogue a few years ago used to say it was safest to rear face and keep your child rfing as long as poss. but now no mention of it. Even the 0+/1 seats they mention you can turn around when baby is 9kg and can sit well hmm not say absolute bare minimum is 9kg but safer to wait until the seat is maxed out.

tigermummy35 Wed 23-Mar-11 22:16:17

I should also echo that it would be nice to have been able to walk into a major car seat retailers (Halfords, Mothercare, Kiddicare) and pick up Group 1 RF seat for DS. Luckily it's only an hour to Milton Keynes for us, so we went there to get ours. The most practical for our situation was the BeSafe, which is massively more expensive than the Britax for example, but you can't put a price on safety. It's a huge shame that more places don't sell them, 'cause the prices would drop if more were sold.

shmoz Wed 23-Mar-11 22:55:22

I had never heard of them until reading this! Have just had a quick looksy on internet and there's a few online sources, but I would prefer to get mine properly fitted (i.e. not by me) - looks like I will have to do a spot of ringing around to find a retailer/fitter..

I am shocked at the lack of information out there regarding this, if I hadn't seen this thread I would have no doubt purchased a front facing seat angry.

Beveridge Wed 23-Mar-11 23:08:26

We bought a BeSafe for DD1 and I'm pregnant again so are hoping that in a year or so when the next one is too big for their first car seat that there will be more availability (and price competition!) of rfing seats.

Loopymumsy Thu 24-Mar-11 17:02:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

justforinfo Thu 24-Mar-11 19:08:48

Thank you all for your comments

Well I spoke with the boss of the Child Seat dept and have been told that they are aware that the seats are the safest option and we sell the Recaro Polaric online (which is shipped in direct from the supplier) But that is the only group 1 RF and we will not fit it.

I questioned why there was not more information available and was told that we are not allowed to use "scare tactics" and it is apparently very difficult to get the information out to the public in a sensitive manner but it is being looked at. I have suggested putting the RF G1 seats in our child seat booklets with information about them and about how much safer they are.

Also to possibly have 1/2 people from each store trained to fit them. I was told that the fitting of these seats is much more in depth than standard seats and more difficult to gauge if it is a safe fit. If the right people are trained they will take on board the training and won't be afraid to contact the manufacturer if they are unsure.

I also suggested having a demonstration seat available in store and if a customer wishes to buy it then for us to order it in.

On the whole I think it's going to be a long, slow process to get these seats widely accepted. However I feel I am cheating my customers by not making them aware of these seats!

Consumer Pressure works wonders! So I would urge everyone who has posted on this thread and everyone who reads it to write to your local Halfords, Mothercare etc to say that you want the information in store and the opportunity to purchase the seat and to have it fitted in store!

I am still going to continue telling customers and if I loose a sale to potentially save a child's life then so be it!

Thank You all for your support

spinaltap Thu 24-Mar-11 19:21:30

I am totally converted to the rear facing cause, and really want to get a RF seat for DS when he grows out of his current Group 0 one in a couple of months.

I did try out a seat in my car - a Besafe in my Volvo saloon. Unfortunately the way the seat fitted meant that the front passenger seat had to be pushed so far forwards it was unusable. This was a Scandinavian seat in a Scandinavian car!

Have those of you that have RF seats had this problem? I can't buy a seat that means no one can sit in the front of my car. I would have thought the car was large enough as there is plenty of legroom in the back. Are some seats more bulky than others? Do you think it's my car that's the problem?

onetwothreefourfive Thu 24-Mar-11 19:56:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TruthSweet Thu 24-Mar-11 19:59:59

spinaltap - Have you seen this? It gives the amount of room taken up by each seat so it might be worth you while measuring from the seat bight out and seeing how much you need the seat forward.

Or you could try this forum to see if anyone has the same car as you.


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