My Response to Netmums’ Article on Extended Rear Facing Car Seats

Netmums’ Article on Extended Rear Facing Car Seats

Today I came across an article published by Netmums called ‘Extended rear-facing car seats – the facts’. I think it’s brilliant that Netmums are focusing on the importance of extended rear facing, and that they wish to make parents aware of this. They are such a huge online website and reach so many parents. The more organisations like this we can get on board to spread the word – the better for all children and families!

However, when I read the article with a professional view, I can’t help but feel that it’s lacking in information. I don’t really feel that as a reader I am getting facts that would spur me on to actually change my view on for example forward facing my child or change my child from forward facing to rear facing (this is all hypothetical of course).

That is why I want to take a few of the points that are made in that article – comment on them and give you some additional information and or correcting that particular information.

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Netmums says:

Until recently, the only rear-facing car seats widely available on the market were infant carriers designed for newborns and young babies.

ERFmama responds:

ERF seats have now recently become more and more advertised thanks to an extreme amount of hard work both from myself and other organisations and specialist retailers and Facebook groups/pages. But ERF seats, in general, have been available on the UK market for over 10 years! The In Car Safety Centre being the first retailer in the UK, they have been selling ERF seats for over 10 years. Another retailer who have been selling seats for almost 10 years – is Securatot LTD. They are an extended rear facing specialist retailer with a wide range of ERF seats.

So there is no, this was not a “recent change” – and no you did not only have the option of forward facing car seats – “recently”.

 

Netmums says:

So, why is rear-facing safer?
In a front-on crash[..]Babies have undeveloped neck muscles, which make them more vulnerable to serious injuries as their heads are not properly supported.[..]

ERFmama responds:

Research has shown that rear-facing children are much safer no matter what type of crash you are in. Be it rear, forward or side impact – rear facing will always be safer! Rear end crashes only make up for 5% of the total amount of car accidents, 75% of all crashes are frontal and the remaining 20% are side-impacts. 

A child’s head is proportionally much heavier than an adult’s, comprising 25% of its body weight compared to only 6% for an adult. In a forward-facing car seat, the neck is subjected to a force equivalent to 300-320kg – that’s the weight of 4 grown men! In a rear-facing seat, the force on the neck is equivalent to 50kg.

 

 

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Netmums says:

In other European countries, rear-facing travel has become the law for children under four years old, and the death and injury rate has plummeted as a result.

ERFmama responds:

Interestingly enough there is actually not one European country that has a law for rear facing to 4 years old. It’s a common misconception. It’s not law – but  the norm. in for example Sweden and Norway to keep children rear facing to 4 years old minimum, as a matter of fact, this is the national advice and is very widely advertised in shops. And because of this, the child fatality rate in car accidents are as low as 0-5 with Sweden leading on where they had 2 years in a row with 0 fatalities. I am definitely for it becoming a law though. In for example America we are now seeing several states who have made it their law to rear face up to 2 years old, and several car seat manufacturers have put a 2 years old forward facing minimum on their car seat! I wish this was something we could see in Europe. 

 

Netmums says:

There are several extended rear-facing seats on the market now, with the choice growing rapidly. They tend to be more expensive than regular seats[…]

ERFmama responds:

There ARE several extended rear-facing car seats on the market today. In fact, I list them all right HERE – what’a more is that there are actually over 40 ERF seats on my list. That’s right! There are OVER 40 ERF SEATS on the UK market! :) 

That ERF seats “tend to be more expensive” is now a myth. It’s a myth that sadly still lingers, but is no less a myth. In fact, as an example – the Joie Tilt is rear facing to 18kg/40lbs and can be used from birth. It’s what is called a 0+/1 combi seat, and it retails for only £70 RRP! Often it’s on sale for as low as £60-65. 

So no, ERF seats are no longer “more expensive” – some are often less expensive, and even the cheapest ERF seat will be safer than any forward facing car seat – no matter what you dish out for the forward facing car seat.

 

Netmums says:

Don’t move your baby to a forward-facing position just because their feet are pushed against the car’s back seat.

ERFmama responds:

This is a very common thing that parents tend to worry about. Their children’s legs. But just like Netmums say – this is not something that you need to worry about at all!  Crossed legs are not a safety issue and are not in danger. :) They will put their legs where they wish. Criss cross style is very common with mine, other times they simply put them upwards or hang them on the sides. Leg injuries are simply not something you find in rear facing children – unless it’s because of debris in the car.  Leg injuries and lower body injuries, however, is one of the most common injuries in forward facing children. As well as spine and neck injury.

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As a “post closer” I would just like to repeat that I think Netmums recent focus on extended rear facing and also extended rear facing car seats, is absolutely brilliant. The more focus the better for everyone. It’s a bit of a battle you see and a bit of an “uphill” struggle to get the correct information out to parents, carers and so forth.

In this business of in-car safety, we often feel overjoyed one day – only to feel trampled the next as we desperately try to flush out the many myths that still exist as well as sometimes fighting tooth and nail with people who really do know what is the safest way – but still feel like they should be neutral on the subject and still promote a less safe way “just in case”.

I think I speak for any professional or any car seat expert advisor, hell even just your everyday mum and dad or grandparent who spends so much time educating others on the subject – when I say that the ‘car seat world’ is often a battlefield.

But the difference between the ‘car seat world’ battle and many other battles we take part of when we become parents or grandparents etc, is that the car seat is a life-saving safety device. When you put a child in a car seat – that seat is what is going to protect them from death and life-changing injuries. We simply can not afford to just “go with the flow” or not do any research before hand on this topic and this decision. Because a life is at stake. When you use a car seat incorrectly – it will not do its job. And when you do not secure the child in the car the safest possible way –  don’t you think you are doing your child a disservice?

“Knowledge is the key to making informed choices. Your children put their trust in YOU to do research and keep them as safe as possible in the car, so that should the day ever come where their safety is being tested – you can with a hand on your heart know that you did everything you could have done.”
-Therese

Would you like the ‘Full Litterature Facts Behind Extended Rear Facing Car Seats’? It is available for download!

 

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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, give-aways and advice. She’s a mum on a mission to change the law and raise awareness. She is also a breast feeding advocate and gentle parenting promoter who loves cloth nappies, baby-wearing, BLW and co-sleeping/bed-sharing.