I didn’t always know about ERF and how much safer it was!
When my eldest was born in April 2008 (1 month early the little monkey!) I knew little more than other first time parents. I had done a bit of research, chosen the Britax First Class SI and got the retailer to check the fit in my car. It was fun sat in the hospital car park in the pouring rain (it was a Bank Holiday weekend when we left the hospital so of course it was raining), trying to fit this seat into the back of my 3 door Clio!
I hate to say now that I turned my daughter forward facing as soon as she reached 9kg, though thankfully she was 15 months rather than the usual 9. I thought that she was screaming because she hated facing backwards and she did stop screaming once I turned her seat forward. Of course, it could have been a number of things: her silent reflux because the seat had to be fully reclined when rear-facing; wanting to see me; wanting to sit upright…..I’ll never know for sure.
My younger daughter was born in July 2012. I had started working for a well-known nursery retailer in 2010 and had been trained on car seats, including how to fit into customers’ cars and potential problems. I had become very interested in the subject and while on maternity leave I did quite a lot of my own research. It was at this point that I discovered the facts around ERF. I joined a car seat advice group on Facebook where I learned so much! When I popped into work my manager showed me the specs for the Cybex Sirona that was going to be released. I was excited to get my hands on it! My youngest was going to stay rear-facing as long as possible – my only decision was which seat? I loved the look of the Sirona, but I had heard a lot about Besafe seats so I was swayed to the Izi Combi X3 Isofix. In the end I plumped for the Sirona (staff discount helped, ha).
By March 2014 I had my eldest (just approaching her 6th birthday) forward facing in a Britax Evolva and my youngest rear-facing in the Cybex Sirona in an 06 plate Citroen C4. My children are petite so my eldest was still harnessed as she was only 16.5kg (114cm tall.)
I had continued my research and training after returning to work. I remember watching a crash test video on YouTube of rear-facing vs forward facing – it was enlightening to say the least! It made me want to turn my eldest back rear-facing. But was it possible? Would she allow it? She’s rather headstrong! Once again, the Facebook group helped me narrow my choice down to a couple of seats. To my surprise my daughter was excited at the thought of travelling in a “backwards” seat like her little sister. So off we went to a local independent retailer where we tried out the Axkid Minikid in both of our vehicles. My daughter was thrilled when I bought it and wanted to ride home in it straight away!
Two years on and my eldest still fits in the Minikid (20.1kg and 122cm tall at her last measurement in March). She is still happy rear-facing in my car (I now drive a Renault Modus) while she is forward facing in a high back booster in my husband’s car (the C4). My youngest is now 4 and she has never been forward facing. She rear-faces in a Besafe Izi Modular in the Modus and still easily fits in the Sirona in the C4 – she is tiny for her age (11.8kg and 93cm last March). I think we may have 6 months-1 year before my eldest outgrows the Minikid; my youngest probably has the same amount of time left in the Sirona, though may last even longer in the Izi Modular. Then she will move into the Minikid – she will probably be 10 or 11 before she outgrows that, haha.
I still work for the same retailer as well as advising on car seats in a few other capacities. I love advising other parents and spreading the word of ERF. Hopefully this blog helps too.
Visit Louise’s FB Page where she spreads the ERF love!
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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.