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Rear facing car seats - why not in UK?

58 replies

Norwegiana · 20/01/2012 18:07

I am just wondering why rear-facing car seats for children are so rarely seen in this country? Where I'm from (you can guess by my nick!) it's very common for children to continue being placed in rear-facing car seats until they're maybe 3 or 4. It's much, much safer, so just wondering why this message hasn't become well known in the UK. My children have been rear-facing until 4, and haven't minded one bit. There is more information here:

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HarrietJones · 20/01/2012 18:09

Lots of people on here use them but I think unfortunately price is a factor for many.
Are they comparable prices to firward facing where you are from?

Norwegiana · 20/01/2012 18:14

Some seats can be used both ways. I live in Scotland, not Norway, so haven't bought car seats there (well, I have, but one is forward facing for my nearly-five-year-old and the other one I bought used from a reputable source, a close friend). They may be a bit pricier, but it's just one of those things you don't skimp on, I think. Protecting a child's neck in case of an accident is incredibly important. I bought a Brio Zento from a UK website and that can face backwards, and lasts up to 25 kilos, so you get many years out of it.

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thisisyesterday · 20/01/2012 18:17

they're gradually becoming more popular, there are quite a lot of us on here who use rer-facing seats.

i think the biggest 2 problems are: lack of advice, and the price.

even when people find out about rear facing seats a lot of them simply cannot afford to buy them.

Norwegiana · 20/01/2012 18:22

That's a shame. Maybe they would become less pricey if there was a bigger demand. Glad to hear some of you are using them, I thought I was the only one in Britain with my two-year-old in a rear-facing seat!

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justforinfo · 20/01/2012 18:46

The manufacturers believe that british parents don't want them - but how can they want them if they don't get told about them?! Also 70% of child seats in the UK are fitted incorrectly, as ERF seats are trickier to fit there is a worry they would still be fitted incorrectly. My argument is that if a parent is paying out £200+ on a child seat and have gone through the trouble of finding an ERF seat then they are more likely to ensure it is fitted correctly.

As for price, yes they are more expensive, but then the Priorifix is £270 and crap when the TWE is £180 and fantastic!

This country needs a much stronger focus on child seats! Every mum and baby magazine, website and store I go in have oodles of info on prams and having a 'stylish' pram etc but no advice is offered on the safety of the car seat!

Rest assured however that manufacturers and the EU are aware of the growing demand and are working to provide seats that ERF for longer. Unfortunately it is not something that can be achieved overnight :(

HarrietJones · 20/01/2012 18:47

I have a two way elite and it was approx £180. People can buy ff seat for £50. If they aren't aware of options /safety then they won't look any further. Some people can't afford to look further.

thisisyesterday · 20/01/2012 18:52

but for a vast majority of people £270 is just not an option, nor is £180
it isn't fair that people are priced out of the safest options

I feel very lucky that we were able to afford our 2 seats. well, put them on the credit card and then paid them off over a few months, but even that isn't possible for some people.

i DO think that they will become more popular though. the last year or so has seen places like Mothercare and John Lewis start stocking them, and more places are popping up that will fit them, cos I think that's another issue. when we had ours fitted our closest place was Milton Keynes. We live in West Sussex!

but isn't the law due to chnge? or they're talking of change so that children HAVE to stay rear-facing until 13months? in which case we will almost certainly see an increase in ERF seats on the market.

We have a 4 yr old and a 2.5 yr old still rear-facing

Norwegiana · 20/01/2012 18:58

If you can afford a car, you can afford 150-200 pounds on a safe car seat. But people are used to spending less on car seats, so it may be a hurdle to get over to actually spend that much. However, if the information became more easily available I bet more people would be willing to part with their money to ensure better safety for their children. Wish there was a nationwide campaign or something...led by a government body or road safety organisation. Or even stickers to put on your rear windscreen!

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HarrietJones · 20/01/2012 19:03

I know people who only spend 300 on a car though...

Norwegiana · 20/01/2012 19:08

Haha, I think my husband spent 150 pounds on one once, a long time ago. Needless to say, it didn't pass its MOT and had to be scrapped. I hope most family cars are better than that - and a 300 pound-car doesn't sound the best/safest to me.

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PuraVida · 20/01/2012 19:09

Also we, as rule, drive smaller cars. There's no way we could fit a rf in our car. Also as our dc regularly travel in three cars we need to be able to easily swap between them. You can't to this with rf. So for us personally to use rf we would need 2 new cars, large enough to accommodate them, 2 seats for each car, 2 for the grandparents. It's just not feasible

HarrietJones · 20/01/2012 19:10

We have a TWE elite & it fits in my Yaris. We also swap it between 3 cars ( tethers in each)

mousyMouse · 20/01/2012 19:12
  • lack of availability (the main shops mothercare, halfords, toysrus don't stock them
  • lack of advice
  • cars too small
  • cost
HarrietJones · 20/01/2012 19:12

If people need a car to get to work they go for what they can afford. It involve comparing safety but there's not usually that much choice. And again people arent aware that there's a big difference in safety ratings

thisisyesterday · 20/01/2012 19:43

"If you can afford a car, you can afford 150-200 pounds on a safe car seat. "

that, to be quite blunt, is one of the stupidest things I have ever read on here.
it's simply not true

thisisyesterday · 20/01/2012 19:44

" and a 300 pound-car doesn't sound the best/safest to me."

what should people do then? just not have one? and when you live in the arse-end of nowhere???

come on, you're being either very naive, or incredibly judgemental.

QueenOfFeckingEverything · 20/01/2012 19:45

We only spect £300 on our last car and it is perfectly safe, thank you! It has a clean MOT, new tyres, brakes and steering etc checked regularly, and (most importantly) I drive it safely.

Norwegiana · 20/01/2012 21:33

Cars cost a lot more than what you pay for it up front. MOTs, insurance, part replacements, registration fee, not to mention petrol! So 200 pounds is not a huge cost if you take all that into account. Safety is of utmost importance and it's money well spent - I know people from all backgrounds, with high and low incomes, who have invested in a rearfacing car seat in Norway, where it is even more expensive.

I don't think it's a human right to own a car. And if you can't secure your children - let's say you can't even afford a forward facing car seat - you should frankly not drive it with your children, it's actually illegal. If EU law implements rear-facing seats only until say 15 kilos (I just made that up), then you would have to have a rear facing car seat. I don't feel sorry for people who won't make sure their children are safe in the car, but I feel for their children in the event of a crash.

Queenofetc.: I'm glad your car is safe! Of course some cheap cars can be perfectly driveable, but in general, it's cheap for a reason. Car prices are very low in this country, if you go to for example Norway you wouldn't get an old wreck for less than 2000 pounds (not saying that's a good thing).

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Norwegiana · 20/01/2012 21:43

Frankly, I doubt the real issue is cost. Whenever I mention this to people (about the safety of rear facing) they say they've never heard that before. And then proceed to say their child enjoys facing forward. I think there has just not been enough information to parents yet. Hopefully it will come. I don't think we should make this a cost question - how can you put a price on your child's safety?

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KnittingNovice · 20/01/2012 21:59

Can I ask a question.

We had both ds and dd rear facing until about 14 months, but then they started becoming incredibly car sick, so we moved them to forward facing. Has any one else encountered this? I did want to keep them rear facing, but couldn't bear them being sick constantly and we regilarly travel between west Sussex & Somerset and sometimes the sickness would be in the first hour or so of the journey.

QueenOfFeckingEverything · 20/01/2012 22:00

Everything has a price.

And in a family where a ERF seat could cost, ooh, 6-8 weeks food and bill money (ie, my family), you have to make choices.

TBH you sound to me like one of those ghastly bores that use every single sodding thing that you don't approve of or that isn't as safe the way it's done in Norway to beat other parents round the head with. So maybe, just maybe, you should look at how you are coming across because I am sure that is unintentional Smile

Norwegiana · 20/01/2012 22:08

I have lived in Britain for 12 years and this country does a lot of good things child-wise.I love how all restaurants and cafes seem to welcome children! And all the public playgrounds, lots of activities for toddlers etc. But car safety wise, I'm sorry to say the UK isn't great. It's not a contest though - it's just about being informed to make the right choice for your family.

And don't tell me your budget for food and bills over a two month period is 200 pounds, I don't buy that one! Is that lentils and porridge for all meals, and using wood burners and candle light only? I'm amazed you can afford to have internet access!

(and I would sell my computer to be able to afford a proper car seat).

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Norwegiana · 20/01/2012 22:09

KnittingNovice: I have heard of that problem. I agree that makes it hard. I am afraid I don't have any experience of this myself.

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Norwegiana · 20/01/2012 22:32

Anyway, as long as maybe one more person knows about rear facing vs. forward facing, I'm happy.

I'm not a campaigner as such normally, but thought this would be a good place to spread the word. I don't like telling people what to do irl, believe it or not, it's easier to make a thread on mumsnet. If people think I'm a ghastly bore, so be it. I'm actually a friendly person, and don't claim to be Queen of anything.

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HypatiaTheProcrastinator · 21/01/2012 10:44

You seem to be living in cloud cuckoo land in regards to personal finances.

My Dad has a car that cost him £100 which he's had for 2 years now. Until recently, he earned £8,000 a year. I'm a twin and if he'd had us now, he would never be able to find £400 to buy ERF seats for us.

I spend about £15 a month on water, £30 on electricity and £120 on groceries. Those are all my necessary bills but I'm not struggling financially and could easily live on less and have done in the past, so yes some people's total household bills could be dar less than that. I don't have a computer to sell either.

I do have 2 ERF seats for my daughter by the way and I don't drive because I haven't been able to afford lessons up to now. I probably won't buy a car anyway though. I'm lucky to have been able to afford to buy these seats and chose to buy those in place of other things I could have spent money on, but many others couldn't afford to do that.

I do agree that the safety of them needs to become public knowledge and I'n sure prices would drop with demand.

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