Earlier this week Facebook suddenly got interesting. The car seat world was popping my news feed up up and away! So much that I just had to find out what the fuss was all about…
And there it was…. I can’t say I’m majorly surprised, I mean.. here we are actually fighting with claws grabbing on and desperately trying to erase all the misinformation regarding rear facing car seats beyond the Moses Basket, and then comes dear Mr. Derek Bavaird in with this pile of.. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but dude…you seriously need to get your facts straight!
Therefore I am going to give you the curtsey of taking your points that you made, skin them, fillet them, and serve them with a far better realistic representation of what exactly Extended Rear Facing really is!!
Because you have failed parents. The moment you sent this gall spew to the print, you failed parents, carers, childminders, nurseries, grand parents, but most importantly… you failed the children.
Your misinformation is putting children at risk of serious injury and even death. Was it really worth it?
Do you not think that we deserve to make our choices based on facts so that we can make informed decisions based on those facts?!
And just so we are clear, I am talking about this when I say FACT:
Oh and while we’re at it! I might have another one as well that I love to you know… “throw around” as they say…
And those two are basically what I operate with. And I dare you to try to challenge them…
But let’s get down to business so we can put this straight!
Mr. Derek Bavaird, you had this to say about rear facing car seats:
And here is my answer to you…point by point:
The size of the vehicle you say, and you want the child to be at least 1m away from the window? But what is this obsession you have with side impact crashes and windows?? Side impact crash is not a common crash, especially not a side impact crash that hits you straight in the side, a point I will get back to further down. But to concentrate on your worry about the child’s head, if this is a big worry you have (which is obviously is?) why not install the rear facing car seat in the middle of the back seat? Arguably the safest place in the car along with the front seat. But again in a full on side impact crash having the child’s head 1m away from the window, puts them in the middle of the ‘C’-pillar where adults are also sitting, and quite frankly I would rather be safe in a car seat which has quite good side impact protection if you choose correctly. Another point I make is that in a rear facing car seat, the child is pushed into the seat, not out of the seat which is the case for forward facing. Which means that the rear facing car seat is able to offer far better protection to the child, then forward facing.
Extended rear facing car seats do fit very nicely in small cars without actually hindering the driver or putting the passenger’s life at risk or cause him a comfort issue! You can’t automatically state that just because you have a small car, you then can’t rear face. That’s bullocks, and you know it. Not all car seats fit all cars, that is a fact, which is why we have the car fitting lists for pretty much every rear facing car seat, they even exist for forward facing car seats.
Let me give you an example from my own experience with what is considered to be a small car size wise from the outside; The Fiat Punto. It’s not a large car, but it’s carcass inside is actually also not small, it’s kind of trick of the eye. In this car, I have had a BeSafe izi Plus and a Britax Two Way Elite. The TWE I had in the front passenger seat since the air-bag could be turned off. But let’s go smaller, lets say….a Ford KA? Impossible right? WRONG! The Axkid Minikid for example, fits really good in a KA, WITH space for a front passenger that’s 6ft tall. Or a Mini?Oh yes…you can!Throw me a car and I bet I can name you a rear facing car seat that works for it. ERF has been around for a very very long time…
Yes, children slip the harness or they unbuckle their harness, but you know what? I can actually see it even if they are rear facing. I use a mirror. It’s attached to the headrest in front of their seat. I can see everything, it’s quite nice. Call it my “blind spot” mirror for keeping an eye out when the 3 of them are fighting… I recommend you this one here Streetwize SWBM2 Extra Large you can get it on Amazon for around £13 and it takes care of any “problem” you have about seeing your child and what he or she is up to. But from a safety perspective as a driver, you should keep your eyes on the road while driving. As for un-buckling the harness and tackling that problem, I highly recommend the ‘BeSafe belt collector‘ and the ‘5-point-plus‘.
Again this side impact fear. Considering that the side impact crash number is only around 20% compared to frontal which is 74% and though side impact is one of the most dangerous in terms of damage because the impact is in the “not so reinforced” part of the car, the impact is usually further up in the car at driver and passenger side, and actually not smack in the middle of the back seat’s door! As with everything safety related, we protect ourselves and our children from dangers that are statistically more likely to happen, and side impact on the back seat passenger side is not the highest of those, which is probably maybe why ECE standard testing doesn’t involve a side impact test at all? You would have thought that if your concern was shared by “The Man Above” in crash testing, ECE testing would have provided this? They have later on implemented it in i-Size which is good, because to me it’s a “no brainer” that you test your seats for all types of crashes, but here we get into the really really juicy part of ERF. Crash testing…. Quite a few of the ERF seats available have had additional crash testing done to them. And when you look at the crash test data, they annihilate forward facing car seats in all aspects of crash scenarios.
I would also like to point out that most if not all? Modern cars today have ‘curtain air-bags’ which have cut deaths by a whopping 45% in side on crashes!!
Now that I have countered your 4 points, lets hassle your starting points concerning the older generation and this other jibber jabber.
You want the child to ideally sit low in the car. Ok, I raise you the Britax Two Way Elite.
There you go, now you can rear face low in the car for an average of 6 years, BRAVO. Lets move on…
In terms of “fitness” needed to wrestle an uncooperative child into the car, are you seriously suggesting that only rear facing children have days where they throw a total fit and refuse to get into the car seat? Because that’s a really bold statement…
Secondly, putting a child into a rear facing car seat, is actually easier than into a forward facing seat. Why? Because when you put them into a rear facing car seat you are positioned away from the door. The door is simply not in the way. When you put them into a forward facing seat, the door is most of the time, really really…in the way…
Thirdly, my 28 month old son and 4-year-old daughter, are fully capable of climbing in and sit down in their car seats without me needing to lift them in. This is something most children are able to do from quite an early stage with some help, and should really be encouraged as it boosts their confidence and works positively on their motor skills.
Fourth, if you have a child who is unable to climb in themselves, then I have a tip on how to put the child in the seat:
Instead of putting them in by lifting them “under arms”, put one hand on their back, and the other one under their bum,
and lift into the seat in a “seated” position.
Try it, you might be surprised of how well this actually works even for people with back problems etc.
As for “guilt tripping” parents about rear facing, I can agree to some extent. Telling a parent they are shit is playground behaviour, but did you know that most parents who moved on to a forward facing car seat for their 9 month old baby had absolutely no idea there was another option of seats? I don’t blame them, I’ve done more than one mystery shopping and the “expert advice” I can find myself being given at high street retailers is….well when I say not correct, I am being extremely nice about it. Because some of it is outright dangerous! And half the time the “expert” has no idea how to install the car seat, let alone know anything about the actual seat range they are selling and getting the weight range completely wrong which is a disaster waiting to happen.
This isn’t their fault, it’s the shop’s fault. It’s the manager’s fault. And when you post your spew to the parent, it’s your fault.
I find that most parents I speak to (and I am quite active in social media) once they know the complete facts and have read up a little, they will usually choose an ERF car seat, simply because it is safer for the baby/child.
You say things like ” I am all for extended rear facing, up to maybe two or so”, but that also means that you completely disregard the British Medical Journal who fully supports extended rear facing up to 4 years old, not only that, but it’s your reasons in your writing that has got my head hitting the desk. Because you are just feeding and feeding into the myths!!
That is not something I expect from any respectable retailer who has a range of ERF seats!!
My writing is as always my own, as is my opinions.
Sources you might be interested in:
Fact of the matter is that the evidence is overwhelming. It’s time to get on the band wagon! Extended Rear Facing DOES save lives!
Linking up to:
Therese has completed the ‘Advanced Child Car Seat Training Course’ at TRL (Transport Research Lab) and is a CPD accredited car seat expert. She blogs about in-car safety, car seats, tips, reviews, giveaways and advice. She’s a mum on a mission to change the law and raise awareness. She is also a breastfeeding advocate and gentle parenting promoter who loves cloth nappies, baby-wearing, BLW and co-sleeping/bed-sharing.