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Rearward facing car seat - anyone bought one that goes up to 4 years in London?

(16 Posts)
lowlandlady Mon 13-Jul-09 10:59:23

We need to buy another car seat for dd (10 months) and I think the literature on rearward facing carseats in pretty persuasive.
But I think I'd rather buy one where there are proper staff who can fit it and know what they're doing. So far I can only find them online. I called mothercare and they were hopeless.
Why are manufacturers so slow to act on this kind of research in the UK?

amidaiwish Mon 13-Jul-09 11:04:33

this thread might be helpful

mumblechum Mon 13-Jul-09 11:06:42

Surely a 4 yr old would be far too big for a rear facing car seat? Where would their legs & feet go?

Tangle Mon 13-Jul-09 11:09:00

Ironically, at least one British manufacturer has been making RF Grp 1 car seats for years and selling them in Scandinavia (where FF Grp 1 seats aren't legal) - they just won't sell them to UK retailers!

Which side of London are you on? If you can get to them the ladies in the Essex County Council In-Car Road Safety Team here, based in Rayleigh in Essex, operate a drop in centre a couple of days a week and have nearly, if not all, the RF seats you'd be looking at - most retailers will only stock one or two. They're also very helpful over the phone.

Good luck

Tangle Mon 13-Jul-09 11:11:00

mumblechum - a RF Grp1 seat is a very different beast to an infant carrier. It sits much higher in the car and there is space between it and the back of the rear seat so that the child can "sit" if they want to (although DD, 2 1/4 is quite happy to have her legs crossed or put them up the in the air at the moment )

lowlandlady Mon 13-Jul-09 12:28:07

my inlaws think i"m completely mad to try for one of these rearfacing seats, but the research is so compelling.
I read that British manufacturers are providing so little because the public don't want these seats.
You want one the minute you read the research though!

Tangle Mon 13-Jul-09 12:48:51

Oh yes - and apparently "british parents prefer the colour options on the FF seats". OK. Clearly an insurmountable problem....

lowlandlady Mon 13-Jul-09 14:09:04

it is amazing that the big outlets are so slow when these are serious studies by major US and UK medical journals, I mean, 71% less likely to be killed is quite a claim from sober medical journals....

Tangle Mon 13-Jul-09 21:43:45

My personal view is that until there is sufficient demand from the public, large stores will not change their practice. Why should they? Parents are already buying Grp 1 car seats from them that have passed the required tests and are legal in this country. To go into RF Grp 1 seats they'd need to put on a BIG advertising campaign to persuade parents they were safer, and then wouldn't necessarily increase the number of seats they sell (as the other large stores would no doubt start stocking them very quickly, maintaining their market share without having the expense).

At the end of the day, shops exist to make money - they like to play the "caring" card, but only so far as it doesn't impact on their profit margins. I don't know whether that makes me more or angry.

amidaiwish Mon 13-Jul-09 21:57:03

I wonder though how many of the shops that don't fit the car seats (mothercare, john lewis) etc. will ever stock RF? You can't return car seats and rear facing are known for being difficult to fit / fit issues in cars.

lowlandlady Mon 13-Jul-09 22:44:22

I agree, it would take a really huge cultural shift, people want things to be straightforward don't they? This makes buying a carseat a much more specialist business like getting prescription glasses, it's drag but some of these sales people in the big stores are not exprets are they?

amidaiwish Tue 14-Jul-09 09:58:59

tbh i don't think it's that bad an idea for car seats to be sold and fitted. I mean you don't just buy wheels for a car do you, you buy wheels and they fit them. It should be the same with car seats and i think that's where we're heading.

lowlandlady Tue 14-Jul-09 11:42:49

which seat is the least space hungry?
Some seats seem to leave no room at all in front passenger seat?

Tangle Wed 15-Jul-09 23:30:43

The Essex ladies have developed a guide to fitting RF car seats, including space requirements, that you can see here.

amidaiwish - I agree with you. We bought our IziKid on line from Sweden as they weren't available in the UK, but we had found one in the flesh and made sure it fitted in our car and that we could fit it in our car before we did so. It frightens me that so many retailers will sell a seat with, seemingly, no concern as to whether it will fit or not - and selling over the web is the classic example. My favourite baby shop is independent and I have respect for them as the owner has decided she won't sell a child seat unless she has checked that it fits in the car properly - in consequence to that she doesn't sell them on line. How many retailers will stand by their principles to that degree?

amidaiwish Thu 16-Jul-09 09:21:20

the fit-issue does seem to be mostly with the group 1 car seats 9m-4yr ones. The baby carriers are fairly universal and the high back boosters too. or am i wrong?

Tangle Thu 16-Jul-09 15:29:29

I'd argue that ANY car seat should be fitted in the car before being sold. Infant carriers are fairly universal, but that doesn't mean they're universaly fitted correctly - if I remember right, something like 60-90% of child restraints are incorrectly fitted.

My understanding from talking to experienced fitters it that an infant carrier fitted with a seatbelt should be as rigid (or very nearly so) as one fitted with isofix - but so many of the ones I see are very mobile in the car. I've seen people on here recommend using the front seat to wedge the infant carrier if you can't secure it tightly with the seat belt. I've heard of people just wanting the cheapest seat as they'll only be using it a couple of times a month - no worries about whether it actually fits (I think the answer was "we don't intend to have an accident" shock). Re. boosters, I've no personal experience yet, but reading on here I was suprised to learn that if they don't fit correctly some can be really insecure in the car (as the only attachemnt is the seatbelt holding the child as well, the whole caboodle can submarine under the lap belt).

Sorry - this has turned into a bit of a rant blush. I guess my feeling is that no car seat will function correctly if its not fitted correctly and so its in everyone's best interests to make sure the fit is correct for EVERY seat. Unless large stores increase their training and change their practice (I can't decide whether staff "fitting" a seat without adequate training is better or worse than selling one in a shopping centre where no attempt is made - probably worse), or unless legislation forces it on them, I can't see things changing in the near future

lowlandlady - glad it was helpful, but please do check that the isofix seat doesn't take up more room before you buy. I'd hate you to get it on my recommendation and then find it won't go in your car!

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