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Bang goes the theory - did anyone watch?

(31 Posts)
AmandinePoulain Wed 27-Mar-13 19:55:09

They did a feature last night on rear facing car seats, it showed the neck stresses during forward facing and rear facing collisions (albeit on an adult). It went some way to explain why rear facing is safer but didn't really explain that ERF seats exist, and then at the end the presenter said that whilst parents would 'obviously be concerned' 'FF is still perfectly safe' hmm.

I'm assuming it's on iplayer if anyone missed it.

Booboostoo Wed 27-Mar-13 21:50:07

I didn't see it but what's the point of showing the stresses on adults? I thought the point was that children's growing bones are subjected to greater stresses?

NoRoomForMeInMyBed Wed 27-Mar-13 22:41:43

It was such a cop out from the program makers, it was almost juvenile. For once I would love DISPATCHERS to do a "the big carseat con; how safe is your child?" Type program. Then people would take notice!!!

Gatorade Wed 27-Mar-13 22:51:52

I was going to start a thread about this too, it was good to see the benefits of rear facing being raised on main stream TV but I was very disappointed with how weak the message was.

No mention was given to the greater impact of the forces on a young child due to comparative head size etc and the end message was misleading. I also thought they should have mentioned that extended rear facing car seats are available now.

kernewek79 Thu 28-Mar-13 01:02:07

The problem with the whole ERF thing is it just isn't as cut and dried as seems to be made out. There are quite substantial issues with rear facing, and I have to say I really don't understand this whole rear facing past 18Kg as I think the cons are far outweighing the benefits.
From a personal point of view I do agree that rear facing is probably best in Group 1 but I don't agree with the 5 x argument. But that would be on the proviso of the ERF seat being a BeSafe. The quotes below refer to Cybex as well, but I want to see some data before I start recommending them.
This is from another website ( that looks into both sides of the argument and whilst I don't necessarily agree with everything it does raise some interesting points:

""Rear Facing Car Seats" opinion 1: Glenn (not his real name) has worked for three car seat companies and is now an in car safety consultant in relation to car seats. He was a guest speaker at the 2009 International Consumer Research and Testing Car Seat Conference. Here is his view.

In total I have worked for three car seat manufacturers and two of those companies now produce rear facing seats. I am not particularly "anti them" but am very annoyed at the "hype" and "mis-information" that surrounds them. What annoyed me in particular was that certain websites were (and still are) promoting rear facing models ......that actually are not very safe at all.

More often than not we are shown statistics from Sweden to show rear facing is best and yes to a small degree they are better than us. But (and it is a big but), is it really surprising that the Swedes are safer than us when you see what cars they drive?

Since 1996 the Volvo V70 has been the top seller in Sweden, followed by the Volvo V60 and then the VW Passat and these three models make up 20% of all new models sold. In the UK the Ford Fiesta is the top seller followed by the Focus and then the Vauxhall Corsa. Put those six cars in the boxing ring and who do you honestly think would win?

Now if I was going to buy a rear facing seat, which to be honest, I would not, (but I do understand that some people will go for a rear facing seat irrespective of what I believe) I would only buy a model from Besafe or Cybex as in general their seats tend to be best when it comes to rear facing models.

It is worth noting that the majority of rear facing seats tested by Which? are in fact "Dont Buys" principally because the side impact crash test results for those seats are appalling.

Looking at the technical data in relation to crash tests, car seats with impact shields have exceedingly close crash test results to rear facing car seats and have the benefit of being less expensive and easier to swap from car to car. Moreover, they take up much less room in a car and are much easier to fit.

My concern with impact shield type care seats is that there is evidence that a small minority of kids are not secure both in everyday use and in a accident.

I concede that technically "rear facing car seats" are safer but this ONLY applies to head on accidents....I dont agree they are considerably safer overall, though I certainly agree it pays to keep a child rear facing as long as is pactical.

The 5 times safer claim made the rear facing lobby is simply wrong........and this is easily proven because in crash tests (based on euro NCAP protocols) rear facing seats often perform pretty badly. If they were 5 times safer would they not have 5 times better crash test results?

In November 2011 there was one of the worst motorway accidents in UK history. Seven people died and a further fifty one people were injured.

In effect this accident was a "rear shunt" meaning any child in a rear facing car seat was in fact facing the vehicles plowing into the rear of the car they were traveling in.

And this is the point....... rear facing is certainly best in head on accidents, on average very poor in side impact accidents (not to mention they expose children to the weakest part of the car in a real accident) and very poor in rear shunts."

Gatorade Thu 28-Mar-13 09:40:21

I think you raise some interesting points Kerne but a lot of what 'Glen' mentions would be equally valid for poor performing front facing car seats. A parent should always make an educated and researched decision when buying a car seat (whether RF or FF) and in both situations should avoid poor performing car seats. I agree that it is a shame that certain rear facing promoting sites include some very poor seats in their inventory/reviews.

I would be very interested to see research/comparison of the best performing forward facing vs the best performing rear facing seats, a more like for like comparison rather than the rear facing results being tainted by the high volume of poor seats on the market.

I did a lot of reasearch into car seats when choosing them for DD (ended up with 2 extended rear facing, a cybex sirona which I love and an Besafe Izi) and I'm happy with my decision to do extended rear facing, but I do often wonder about rear shunts.

lljkk Thu 28-Mar-13 09:45:40

Thank you for that post, Kerne. A lot of it seems very obvious when you think about it.

Booboostoo Thu 28-Mar-13 15:03:07

A bit of a waffly, vague and misleading post by the researcher 'Glenn'. For one thing he seems to be lumping all types of quality seat together (as Gatorade points out above) and for another there is no accounting for the statistics, e.g. how likely is an accident to be head on versus rear shunt? If rear shint accidents are rarer and tend to involve lower speeds, then rear facing is still better overall. The author seems to be confusing the suggestion that safety features like car seats will reduce one's overall risk in the types of accident that are most likely to happen, with the claim that safety features are globally safer, i.e. in all circumstances. In some circumstances wearing a seat belt is more dangerous than not, but these circumstances are so rare you are still better off wearing one.

kernewek79 Thu 28-Mar-13 16:45:12

Booboostoo and Gatorade

I do agree to a certain extent with what you are saying and I would certainly (In group 1) rank rear facing as best, FF shield (preferably Cybex) second, and FF Harness third.
My issue is there are lots of different ERF brands banded around on here with the option of Rear facing until 6 etc. This is where my issue is. The BeSafe seats are proven. Provide good side impact protection and the seat brace will offer protection in a rear shunt.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I haven't seen any evidence of another brand coming anywhere near BeSafe's standards in UK or German testing which is more appropriate to the type of vehicle in the UK. I expect the Cybex will, they are a top top brand but, we will have to wait and see, so that is just speculation.

justforinfo Thu 28-Mar-13 20:59:50

I wonder if "glen" works for a company that doesn't sell ERF seats? Maybe Maxi Cosi I wonder....
(they only sell the Mobi and don't push that in the UK, but really push it in sweden...)

justforinfo Thu 28-Mar-13 21:04:05

I have recently written a blog on Group 1 and 2 there is a link there to a piece of proper research done (

As with any major decision a parent has to make for their child, they should thoroughly research the options and make their own decision.

kernewek79 Thu 28-Mar-13 22:01:19

Hmm.. You refer in your blog to Which making the Volvo Convertible / Britax Multitech a Don't Buy. You say this is down to difficult installation. Why is that not important? If a seat is difficult to install, then it is likely to be installed incorrectly thus making it pretty much useless. However, you do not mention the fact that not only do Which not recommend the seat because it is difficult to install, but also because it is pretty crap when it is installed properly. For an ERF seat to only get 3 star and a very poor overall score when combined with side impact testing. It does seem that the kings of the side impacts seems to be the shield based seats from Cybex and Kiddy.
What country is this study from? and from how long ago? The seats seem to be very old and the cars American and pretty old ones at that. Modern restraints are far superior today than 5-10 years ago. It doesn't really make sense to have a study unless you use current vehicles. What happens in the US is very different to here, the standards are all very different. In the meantime, I will stick to Which etc.

lenats31 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:44:48

Okay, I wrote Mr Venäll at VTI a couple of years ago, asking about the model and brand of a child car seat used in a horrific crash that happend in Sweden 2010. He knows more about the outcome of real car crashes than anyone else in that country.

He wrote it all in Swedish, so can´t copy and paste.

But he replied that the important thing was the direction the car seat was facing. make and model was completely irrelevant, as the difference in the safety level in all rearfacing car seats today(those above 13 kg) was and still is so small it does not matter.

As for the bad test results: the entire user friendliness section is based on personal openions only. They bring in some families to test the seats. This section takes a whopping 50% VETO of the final result. What this means is that a seat that scores well in the collision test can get an overall poor score due to the personal openions in the userfriendliness. Furthermore, those that can be installed forward facing are in fact tested forward facing more than rearward facing and it is the results of forward facing use that we get to see.

What this all means is that if you can install them correctly and use them correctly, child has good leg comfort (which they do to a certain height being very flexiable and all), View out of the car is often far better than in forward facing car seats and everything else is good. Then you can completely disregard the bad test results for seats such as the Britax Multi-Tech.

If you don´t have any of the so-called problems listed in this section - then the test result don´t count for you, your child , the car seat and evrything else.

lenats31 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:05:59

Side impacts are very different in real life. There is allways a initial reaction that comes directly from the so-called "Reptile brain". This is the part of the brain that decides what is going to happen. It´slike a post office as it disrtibutes the information it receives to the relevant parts of the brain, so a reaction to it can be made. However, it does have veto, and so may alter the reaction all on it´s own. In immidiate danger situations like a side impact, the information received is not distributed. It stays in the reptile brain and this part of the brain decides what is going to happen. The reaction may or may not be a good one. The Reptile Brain sees to that YOU are protected against danger.

Most people step on the brake in situations like this.

lenats31 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:30:07

Most rear shunts happen at low speed. This is recogned in the ECE R 44 regulations that allows 3 point harnesses in infant carriers.

The forward facing child is in the "right" car seat for this, but since they happen at low speed, there is no harm done in the rearfacing child.

Agree that in high speed rear shunts the outcome could be different. COULD BE, because the safety for forward facing child is very dependant on the size of th car that you drive and to some extend the make and model too. (far from all Swedes drive big Volvos I might add - been there many times). The boot of the car becomes the crush zone, and the forward facing child sit s alot closer to point of impact here - in small cars with a small boot - VERY close and so the incoming car, truck or whatever can hit that child.

lenats31 Mon 01-Apr-13 15:26:01

""Looking at the technical data in relation to crash tests, car seats with impact shields have exceedingly close crash test results to rear facing car seats.

Nope - not even neck loads. In fact the neck loads in them have been found to be about the same as othet forward facing seats.

and have the benefit of being less expensive and easier to swap from car to car. Moreover.


they take up much less room in a car

Only because Adac, Stiftung Warentest, Which etc don´t count in the space that children in them go forward with. That is up to 55 cm from the forehead. More if the seat is not correctly used or correctly fastend. But lets just say they are correctly fitted and correctly used. Some rearfacing seats generally need a lot of space in most cars. others need very little and in fact less than a forward facing seat like these ones when you count in the rotation of the child.

and are much easier to fit.

Yes - in terms of time that is. As for difficulty - well that´s is certainly an individual thing. My experience is that most find both types easy to fit if you are willing to spend the extra 2 minutes fitting the rearfacing one.

kernewek79 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:21:13

If you look at this website there are opposing views. As I said, I don't agree with a lot of it but I think some points are valid. I would urge more people to look at ERF in group 1. It is safer no doubt about it and I also agree that shield seats are not as good by any stretch of the imagination. However, I don't get why people want to ERF past group 1 vs a good FF HBB. . Technically it might be safer but the disadvantages are now stacking up pretty significantly for not a huge gain in safety especially in a modern car. Even several ERF brands have eluded to me that there is nothing to be gained.
Which test scores are actually 60 crash test 40 usability not 50 50. When talking about the Multi tech I am referring to crash test results only not taking into account usability. It is not great.
I, despite what you say, including your refusal to look at side impact testing maintain BeSafe as the only decent option in the UK. When I have seen the results of the Maxway, Sirona etc I will gladly concede.

lenats31 Sun 07-Apr-13 17:29:02

Ah okay, I misread your post then - sorry about that

One point tough;
Disadvantages for rearfacing after 18 kg are not stacking up. It is not as important after 4 years, but there is still safety advantages.

Modern cars are stiffer, and so the loads generated are greater. Loads don´t just disappear. They must be absorbed by something.

The Which tests are worth nothing compared with the outcome of real accidents. Real accidents are much much better at showing what is good and what is bad. What I know I have from the real experts in Sweden. people who have worked in this business for many years. Specifically regarding the safety difference between the ERF seats. Contact Mr Venäll at VTI. He´ll give a reply that will surprice you.

regarding the Multi-tech I know exactly how that seat was tested. I even know how it was installed, and where - exeactly what happend throughout the whole thing.

The Which test do rate 50/50. The numbers were issued to consumers ultimo 2012 by Forbrukerrådet in Norway who have been members of the ICRT for years up until last year. They have an exact scheme on how the points are distrubted including the VETOs.

lenats31 Sun 07-Apr-13 17:44:02

The collision results for the Multi-tech are for forward facing use by the way.

Mr. Venälls contact details are right there on the VTI contact site.

lenats31 Sun 07-Apr-13 18:19:26

OH and, Besafe will launch a 25 kg rearfacing seat shortly - in fact it is scheduled for release in Sweden this month. other countries will follow.

kernewek79 Mon 08-Apr-13 16:26:36

Yes, I know about the BeSafe seat. Like I say, technically it is safer, I just feel that there are a lot more disadvantages to ERF past Group 1.
With regard to the Multi - Tech This is from Which - "In rearward-facing Group 1 mode, it scores an acceptable three stars for front and side crashes, while for forward-facing Group 1 and 2 modes, the front crash score drops down to a poor two stars."
3 stars for a rear facing seat isn't great!
Also side impacts make up just over 1/3 of accidents in the UK, this stat is much lower in Scandinavia. Why? There are a lot more junctions in the UK with poorer visibility so side impact testing is very important. And in most side impacts the driver has no time to react so braking is unlikely.
With regard to Which - this is from their website:

"The child car seat test score ignores price and is based on:

Safety (front crash; side crash; seat design) 60%
Ease of use (installation, possibility of misuse, comfort, cleaning and workmanship) 40%"

kernewek79 Mon 08-Apr-13 16:30:43

With regard to disadvantages of ERF post group 1:
Child getting in and out of seat independently, travelling in alternative vehicle, socialisation - why is everyone else sitting forward?
Can't use isofix = higher chance of bad installation.
I could go on and it depends how important it is to you I suppose, for me its not enough gain.

lenats31 Mon 08-Apr-13 18:34:18

We allways install seats with contact to dashboard or the front seat. The Multi-tech had nothing behind it. Furthermore it was incorrectly installed. It was tested with the Q6 dummy rearfacing frontal and Q3 + Q6 for side impact.

I don´t care what the tests say, neither do the Swedes. We care about what happens outthere on the road.

Based on those tests, the pair of twins that were sitting in this seat a couple of years ago in a 80 km/t frontal collision, should not have been retrieved from the car unharmed. Just to mention one incident.

Fact is that the Swedes just dont loose children in these seats ever unless it is an accident where the car is crushed flat by a lorry or bus, wrapped around a tree and cut in half, child thrown from the car. In other words situations where the car has been completely smahsed fron head to tail and top to buttom. We cant say the same thing about forward facing seats irrepsectively of which one and type of collision can we?

Rearfacing children have better view than forward facing children. Socializing is a lot easier with siblings in the car or the easy-view mirror.

Getting children in and out is easier too, and you dont even bang your car door on the car next to yours in the parking lot because your backside is facing the road. Basically you can easierly put an older child into these seats in the same way that you would with the Sirona seat. the swirvel function is not really needed here. It´s just a fancy pantsy feature that you pay some extra money for. That´s just my personal openion.

Fact is, parents who use these seats use them happily because they don´t experience any of those problem that you mention here.

No isofix does certainly not automatically mean that they are difficult to install.

last but not least, parents with rearfacing seats tend to have done somewhat more studying on the subject. They tend to read the manuals more than once and also more carefully. Then comes having someone in-the-know about these seats and childrens´ safety in cars as a whole instruct them on how to install them. lets face it - not too many mainstream baby gear shops in the UK and around Europe too for that matter are well informed about them not to mention know how to install them. Not even those that stock some rearfacing seats. Parents have to go to a specialist retailer for all of this.

Eat the pudding and you´ll know what it tastes like.

lenats31 Mon 08-Apr-13 18:45:18

Rearface for as long as possible.

Could be
Until one limit has been reached

It easy to explain why they are facing the other way. They generally don´t mind because the view is so much better and so is the socializing. Forward facing children get to stare into the back of the front seat. and communication with older siblings is more difficult and risky.

lenats31 Mon 08-Apr-13 18:50:17

How many times have you visited a Scandinavian country?

I dont recognize the junction issue that you mention among other things.

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