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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:

OP posts:
ragged · 21/01/2012 11:12

Unusual, expensive, often difficult to procure, can be difficult to fit safely or refit or transfer, the risk is already very small with widely-available & cheaper FF seats. Widely promoted by pushy zealots. What's not to dislike?

nocake · 21/01/2012 11:34

The safety benefits of erf seats are over stated on many websites. However, as a former skeptic I read as much information as I could find and watched a whole bunch of crash test videos and came to the conclusion that they are significantly safer in the most common types of crash. Yes, they can be harder to fit but most people rarely take them out of the car so spending half an hour making sure the seat is fitted correctly is no big deal. Yes, they tend to be more expensive but what price your child's safety? Yes, they are harder to find in the shops but you only buy it once (hopefully) so make the effort to find somewhere (there are 3 shops within driving distance of us). The more people buy them the more shops will stock them.

OuchCharlie · 21/01/2012 11:37

"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."

this is absolutely true. There is no information in the UK about how much safer rear-facing is unless you go looking for it. I only found out through a thread like this where American parents were discussing it.

I recently bought a Britax two way elite for DS from the in car safety centre in Milton Keynes. It's miles away from us but I ordered it online after a lengthy discussion with a member of their staff on the phone which was very informative. Neither DH or myself drive so we needed something to go in several cars; it fits in a fiat punto, peugeot 306, vw Sharan and golf amongst many others and should last rearfacing until DS is around 5.

just yesterday a friend asked me with concern if the rearfacing seat we had bought was safe - I actually felt guilty telling her it was much safer than a forward facing (that she - and everyone else I know has) because there just isn't information around and I worried she'd think I was questioning or judging her choices.

The safety tests and law need to change in this country. Otherwise our government are near enough implying that our children's safety isn't as important as children in Europe. Not sure what we can do about it though, nobody likes to be told what they're doing might be wrong, myself included!

sleeplessinsuburbia · 21/01/2012 12:07

Could you please tell me a website which sells the rf seats for kids up to 25kg? Can only get them up to about 11kghere!

HarrietJones · 21/01/2012 12:16

Car safety people in Milton Keynes can't remember the website. They've fitting guide videos and an advice line if you can't get there in person. Mine came next day too!

HarrietJones · 21/01/2012 12:17
sleeplessinsuburbia · 21/01/2012 12:20

Thank you, which model would be the most comfortable for the child? (thinking leg room!)

HarrietJones · 21/01/2012 12:28

Don't know that much about them. I was surprised when I fitted the twe how much space there was for legs though.

OuchCharlie · 21/01/2012 15:30

sleepless if you ring the in car safety centre (number on their website link above) they have specially trained staff who will talk through your needs with regard to your car/other cars you might travel in, the size of your LO, their comfort needs etc. It helped immensely when I was looking for one because I didn't really know what to look for

thisisyesterday · 21/01/2012 20:46

sleepless which country are you in?

sleeplessinsuburbia · 22/01/2012 01:25

I'm in aus, think they're illegal here but I'm still interested, had never heard of them and they look fantastic, I have googled and saw photos of older children, they don't look squashed. I found a site which would post to me... I really appreciated the advice on this thread.

nocake · 22/01/2012 09:43

Hi sleepless
Extended rear facing seats are legal in aus but, looking on the web, they seem to be even harder to find than in the UK. The Essential Baby forum has a discussion on them and may be able to suggest places to get one.

thisisyesterday · 22/01/2012 19:50

i th0uoght you might be when you said about the 11kg weight limit!

rright now i really don't envy any of you mums over in australia with their car seat laws.
I believe the issue is something to do with the seats not having a top tether?

I would imagine there would be ways of getting one over there, but not sure anyone would ship there as it would be illegal to sell one to you as it wouldn't meet Aus laws.

v. difficult!

sleeplessinsuburbia · 23/01/2012 07:32

It seems I can legally get one here but maybe i can't legally use it! There's a site I found on that forum which will ship to me, just wondering if I'm missing something crucial- they sound brilliant but can't find any info about if they are actually illegal...

thisisyesterday · 23/01/2012 10:53

i am sure i read something on the rear-facing forum from someone who was in aus who said they weren/t. all i can remember is i think it's something to do with the gfact that car seats over 9kg or something have to have top tethers, and most ERF seats don't?

will try and find the discussion though

thisisyesterday · 23/01/2012 10:54
sleeplessinsuburbia · 23/01/2012 12:54

Thanks heaps, it seems I accidentally hijacked this thread!

vjoy · 24/01/2012 11:56


I just wanted to say thank you to Norwegiana for starting this thread. I was just about to buy a forward facing car seat for my LO but am reconsidering now.

Can you recommend one, particular for small cars?


thisisyesterday · 24/01/2012 12:47

britax 2 way elite.

vjoy · 24/01/2012 16:34

Does anyone know how they compare to the Kiddy Guardian Pro 2 ( for example. The Kiddy doesn't have a 5 point harness but a 'block' in front of the child, which apparently reduces the risk of spinal injury.

thisisyesterday · 24/01/2012 18:24

rearfacing seats are about 5 times safer than forward facing ones.
an impact cushion won't stop the head being flung forward in an accident.

there is some disagreement actually over whether the impact cushions are actually better than harnesses or not

Technodad · 19/02/2012 13:57

I have written a full explanation of why rear facing is safer than forward facing here (if anyone is interested):

Pyrrah · 26/02/2012 23:21

It's not easy to find one to actually look at in the UK. So many shops have never even heard of ERF.

We bought the BeSafe Izikids Isofix Combi and it's been brilliant - we bought it from Securatot who have also been brilliant. We haven't had a car for over a year now, but rent one when we need to and so far there has been no issue in installing the seat in any model we have hired (and we go for the cheapy option not the super-deluxe).

DD is nearly 3 and has only ever FF in other people's carseats. She seems perfectly happy in her seat and can look out of the window.

I've stopped trying to tell people about the differences in safety as 90% don't want to know. They either assume that you are criticising their parenting choices or tell you that their child if much happier facing-forward (DD screamed the entire time in the car till she was 22 months without fail and for hours at a time so I know exactly what a PITA it can be).

I can understand that the cost could be too much for many people, but there are many for whom it would be pocket-change who don't do ERF.

The thing that really scares me is talking to people who FF their DC when they're only 6 months or so because they are heavy/tall enough to fit the FF carseats.

fireflymouse · 02/03/2012 22:23


V important message to get across i think and to get people thinking about and saving up for!! More public awareness will increase demand, and supply and hopefully bring the flipping price down just a fraction ( although my dd's life is worth far more than the current price, but just saying...

gallicgirl · 02/03/2012 22:36

I was reading about this today and saw this debate:

I spoke to my local car safety centre who reckoned they could get a rear facing seat for less than £200. However, when my friend visited the centre, she said the RF seat wouldn't fit her car. It's fine if you drive a huge volvo but not so great for a little mini. There is some suggestion too that they are only safest in a head-on crash but I haven't seen the Which reports so can't really judge.

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