Lie flat car seats - 157 vs 180 angle

(2 Posts)
SarahFrances89 Mon 21-Dec-20 17:16:29

I’ve been looking at lie flat car seats and am really confused as to how a 157 degree car seat (like the Joie I-level) counts as a lie flat car seat when they’re not lying flat?! Does it not matter whether they’re actually flat or is 157 just better than nothing but 180 is the best? All the articles and reviews I read don’t clarify this at all or mention what any research actually says about the angle and what is better. Thank you for any help, getting really stressed out about what is better and just can’t make sense of it!

OP’s posts: |
BertieBotts Tue 22-Dec-20 06:10:02

The reason it's hard to find info on this is that there isn't really any research.

The 157 degree ones are simply marketed as lie-flat - there's no legal protection on this term so it doesn't have to actually mean totally flat. They are quite new on the market so we don't have a huge amount of info on whether it makes a difference or not, but we do know that they crash test comparably with traditional car seats. Not quite as safe, but not significantly less safe.

The problem with totally flat, carrycot style seats is that they are all positioned sideways in the car, which offers less protection in the event of an accident. Although some of the newer ones are crash tested, older ones don't legally have to be, and with the newer ones, the dummies used to assess the safety of the seats don't have as many sensors in them as the dummies which represent older children, so it's hard to tell how the seat would really perform in a real accident. Because they are newer and tend to be used for a short period of time (until children can sit up) there is not much real world accident data yet.

You are basically weighing the risk of crash injuries with the risk of positional asphyxiation due to the angle of a car seat. (More info on this ink{\]]s}.) A lie-flat (157 degree) seat is one method to reduce this risk. Other methods which reduce this risk are inserts in the seat which flatten it out for newborns, or an internal angle adjust (e.g. like in Britax Babysafe 2 i-size). The one thing that you can do to reduce the risk in any car seat is simply to limit time spent in the seat, which is why this is the official advice given by most health authorities. In the UK the current advice is no longer than 2 hours at a stretch in any car seat, and no longer than 30 minutes for babies under 4 weeks old. It's also important to ensure you have all the correct inserts for the seat (especially if you received it second hand) and you are using it set up correctly for the age/weight/size of your child - the manual, which you can download if you've lost, will tell you how to do this.

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