My feed

to access all these features

Confused about car seat regulations? Find baby car seat advice here.

Car seats

Rear facing car seats..... really ?

15 replies

AdamR · 23/09/2011 12:51

Well, my daughter has pretty much grown out of her infant seat at nearly 9 months old.

Comming to buy a car seat has been more problematic than i thought!
Like millions of other people i was going to buy a FF car seat, then started reading about RF seats and how they are '5 times safer' than FF seats...

Well being the person I am, i started researching this but cannot find hard evidence of this ANYWHERE. Yes i have seen video's on youtube of car seats in crash tests, but most are not isofix and dont give a true aspect of a real crash (energy absorbtion in the car chassis etc).

I do want whats best for my daughter BUT, for a decent RF seat i could buy 2-3 DECENT FF seats too.

I have done hours of reasearch but have not been able to find any scientific proof about this '5 times safer'.. it almost seems like the number 5 was pulled out of thin air. I have found a few documents published in the states, but they go in to saying the ethnic's in america dont use as high quality seats as the white ethnic does and then goes on to say that rear facing is 5 time safer than the ethnic group... well thats not a true / good comparison in my book.

Where is the side by side information regarding RF V FF and a true comparison of safety ?

I was going to get a Maxi cosi mobi ? (think thats the FF one)
but i will be going to look at the besafe izi combi Isofix x3 and a few other RF ones on saturday...

any input is welcome and i dont want this turning in to a preach to other thread. state your opinion / facts and which car seat you have chosen and why.

Hopefully this can then be used as an aid for other like myself :)


OP posts:
ChunkyPickle · 23/09/2011 12:58

I have nothing to add, but I'm very interested too.

I can see that being pushed back into your seat must be better than being flung forward against the seatbelt.

silverfrog · 23/09/2011 13:04

take a look at (I think that is the site)

it has links to lots of research, as well as haivng a lot of info the the different RF seats available.

SarahScot · 23/09/2011 19:55

I'm confused about this too. I can imagine my DS would have been RAGING as an older toddler/up to 4yr old if he was facing backwards. Obviously, safety is more important, but can you imagine driving with an constantly shouting child? :/

If it really is so much safer, I will buy DD a rf seat, but for practicality I would rather a ff seat.

Would be great if someone could link to the research.

thisisyesterday · 23/09/2011 20:04

my nearly 4 year old has no problem being rear-facing. he can see more than he could forward facing as he can see out the back window and the side windows

would second the suggestion of looking on the website it has a lot of the crash test results and safety stuff on there.

I think it is fairly well accepted though that the risk of internal decapitation in a high force crash is much, much, much higher forward facing than rear... because the head is flung forward which simply does not happen in a rear-facing seat.
that alone would be enough for me to keep mine rear-facing regardless of how many times safer it is

also, have you read the BMJ article?

thisisyesterday · 23/09/2011 20:07

this is the BMJ piece

Ipad2iloveyou · 23/09/2011 20:28
take a look at this, it's the story of a little boy that was in a ff car seat when the car crashed, his Grandad has campaigned to change the law in America, and succeeded.

EldonAve · 23/09/2011 20:36

we have a RF Swedish seat but not using it currently as the tethers to the passenger seat are inconvenient

my youngest was in a RF US seat until recently but he's now FF

I'm convinced that RF is safer but given the little we use our car it doesn't worry me enough to switch to the Swedish seat iyswim

aswellasyou · 23/09/2011 21:36

I think it's quite intuitive that rear facing is safer, and it's commonly accepted that rear facing on a bus/train/plane is safer. I also don't care how many times safer it is. In Sweden, the Plus Test is performed on carseats and the vast majority fail. I chose to look for ones that had passed this test so I really was putting my daughter in the safest seats.

BertieBotts · 23/09/2011 23:05

I have a FF seat for my son, but I decided on a Kiddy one because I don't drive myself and it has to fit in multiple cars, sometimes at short notice, which I know is impossible with some of the RF seats, almost all of them take longer to install than a normal FF seat (and the Kiddy takes less time to install than one of these) and TBH, I didn't have the money to buy one anyway. The kiddy wins hands down for convenience as a non-driver, and it has quite a few other benefits too such as being less likely to be wriggled part-out of, as many children work out how to take their arms out of a 5-point harness. I've seen some threads though which imply if you have a determined escape artist, some children do manage to wriggle out entirely. But it seems to have less of the more-common but low-level arm escaping problem.

I can see that RF is much safer, and it does make intuitive sense to me, however, if I was to choose a RF seat I would make sure to pick one with decent side impact protection as a lot of them look inadequate to my eyes, although this might be because they tend to be pictured with older children in, and other FF seats always seem to have pictures of tiny 9 month olds nestled deep in the SI protection wings - not so much of 3/4 year olds pushing the boundaries of the seat's capacity.

The compromise I made was that I kept DS in his infant carrier until he physically couldn't fit into it any more. When you say "Pretty much" grown out of - where is her head? If the top of her head hasn't reached the edge of the seat yet, then you have a way to go. Or of course if she is approaching the weight limit, but this is unlikely at 9 months. I remember thinking "Oh no! DS is going to grow out of this soon!" and then he didn't actually grow in height/length at anything like the speed I was imagining. I think I just noticed he was near the edge and panicked, but really they grow a lot slower than you expect. There is a big drop in weight gain speed at around a year as well, before then they can gain a kg every few months, whereas after a year it's more like one every year or so. DS is small in weight, but average height, and he fitted into his (mothercare/old-style cabriofix unbranded clone) until 18 months with no problems. If you got a seat like the Britax First Class, she could be rear facing until she turns 13kg regardless of height, and then the seat turns forward facing. If you look in your red book at the centile line she is on you can estimate when this will be. In DS' case I would have been more than happy with it as he hit 13kg at about 2.5. XP kept the First Class when we split though and turned him at 13 months when he didn't need to Hmm.

Personally I wouldn't want to put a child forward facing unless it was the only option before 15 months or so. I probably wouldn't buy an extended rearfacing seat unless they happened to become more mainstream because of the extra cost, the small amount of driving we do, and the other practical issues. And, TBH, when I was making the decision I was already feeling like enough of a freak for breastfeeding to 18 months, using slings, doing BLW, not using time out for a one year old, and I just Could Not Take having to explain myself and my decision on another thing, one which others were likely to witness, comment on and ask about. I know that's a really rubbish reason, considering the main reasons for are about safety, but it was a very real feeling of exhaustion at the time and it was one of the smaller factors which tipped me.

I don't get the arguments though that DCs would hate it. This seems to be adults assuming adult values onto children, IMO anyway. I remember loving and fighting over the sideways-facing seats in the boot of my Dad's landrover when we were kids. And anyway, most children just take at face value whichever way they are travelling, it's not something which they really think about. DS swapped between his infant carrier, which was low down and so more annoying, and FF in his dad's car regularly at age 13-18 months and didn't care either way. (Exceptions made for those whose DCs genuinely do hate rear facing or get car sick.)

aswellasyou · 24/09/2011 10:35

Bertie, you've just reminded me. I was on a longish train journey with my daughter last week. There weren't any seats facing the direction of travel (maybe because it's safer for people to rear face) so I had my daughter in her infant carrier on the seat so that she was facing the direction of travel. Every now and again she'd look out of the window, her eyes would try to track things outside and she'd start to look really sick. I can only assume that it was because she's never been forward facing in a vehicle and was getting travel sickness. I was surprised since people usually claim that rear facing causes more travel sickness.

lenats31 · 25/09/2011 21:47

Here is a link that answers most of OPs wuestions.

Rearfacing vs forwardfacing
Isofix vs seatbelt installation

The guy is one of my mentors, and a really good one.He has worked in the industry for many many years. used to be head of one of the major car seat companies in the USA and Europe. He has travlled the world making car seats.

Is rearfacing really that much safer than forward facing - even those with a an impact cushion? Yes, deffinately.

lenats31 · 25/09/2011 21:54

About side impact?

Well, it is ADAC in Germany that carries out the consumer tests for Europe. Their results are then spread across Europe and released so consumers can see them.

The side impact test goes like this: The car chassis stands still, and a barrier smashed into it from the side right where the car seat is. The forces are low so do not result in dents in the car chassis. They are "clean" with no debris and what so ever.

This is what mostly happens on the road: Both cars are in motion - and for the most part they are going forwards. Most drivers slam on their brakes and brake into the accident. This often an impulsive and" immidiate danger "reaction. They are a real "mess" with flying things and whatever.

justforinfo · 27/09/2011 20:52

Hi Lena!! Is it possible to have the info about group 2/3 seats isofix/non isofix in English too? I'm a child seat fitter and like to know as much as I possibly can!


GrimmaTheNome · 27/09/2011 20:59

Its over a decade since we had to make the choice - back then there were very few RF stage 2 seats but my DH - who is very into safety - had read and planned. Accordingly, we had changed my car for a volvo, ordered with no front airbag specifically so she could ride next to me in a Volvo RF seat.

lenats31 · 01/10/2011 21:13

justforinfoTue 27-Sep-11 20:52:13

Hi Lena!! Is it possible to have the info about group 2/3 seats isofix/non isofix in English too? I'm a child seat fitter and like to know as much as I possibly can!


The answer is in the link that I posted. He writes that there is some suggestion that isofix is safer in side impact crashes. That is for forwardfacing seats.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.