Are you looking for a Rear facing car seat, the best rear facing car seat to go for an extended rear facing car seat? This way you can ensure your child has maximum safety for longer. At the time of writing this blog the UK car seat regulations only enforce rear facing for a maximum of 15 Months if in an i-Sized car seat or if in a ECE R44 car seat can forward face at 9kgs. We have included a link to the Goverment website for the car seat safety laws here
Remember these laws are the minimum as parents we should do for our children. However is is not necessarily what is best for our children.
Why travel in a rear-facing seat?
Why is travelling in a rear facing car seat safer for the child? To fully understand the problem, we need to realize how different a child’s body is from that of an adult. The most important difference is the proportion of the head to the rest of the torso.
In an adult, the head is approx. 6% of the total body weight. For a few months’ old baby, the proportion is as much as 25%. A baby weighing 10 kg must carry a weight of more than 2 kg on their neck. If you think it’s not that much, let us see how much our heads would have weighed if this proportion didn’t decrease with age. For a 60 kg woman, it would be 15 kg, and for a man of 80 kg – 20 kg. Can you imagine carrying a 20 kg sack of potatoes on your shoulders? That’s right!
This difference is extremely important when choosing a seat. The overloads that affect the passengers of the car at the time of a frontal collision (which are statistically the most frequent) are unimaginably large. Two things protect the adults travelling in the front seats against the dangerous effects of these overloads. First, an airbag, second, a strong spine and neck muscles that support the head. A child sitting in the back does not have either the airbag or such a strong spine – in babies who are several months old, the vertebrae consist only of delicate cartilage prone to stretching.
When such a baby is seated in an Forward facing seat, its head moves forward with such force during a road accident that it may tear the ligaments of the spine and even damage the spinal cord. A child’s neck muscles are simply too weak to hold a head that shoots forward like a projectile, not cushioned by a protruding airbag. The consequences of this can be dire.
The forces that work on the young passenger during an accident or during a collision are completely different when the child travels in a rearward-facing car seat. The overloads that affect the baby’s head and spine are then lower because they are partially amortized by the headrest and backrest of the seat.
The most common myths about driving in an RWF seat
Since rear-facing travelling is 5 times safer for children, why still do so few babies travel this way? We see the reasons for this, first of all, in the ignorance of many parents, Secondly – in the harmful myths that are widespread. It has been mistakenly established that a child who grows out of the first car seat is already „grown up” enough that it can (or even should!) start travelling front-facing. Conscientious parents, transporting their children in RWF models up to the age of 4 or 5, often face mocking questions like, So big and still drives rear-facing ?!”.
Those in favor of traveling front-facing, when arguing their choice, give many reasons:
- because when the child is travelling rear-facing, their legs are cramped, which then become numb and hurt them,
- because when travelling rear-facing, the child does not see anything out of the window and starts to get bored,
- because after switching from the baby carrier to the FWF seat, the child finally stopped crying when traveling, so this way of driving is definitely more comfortable for them,
- because parents sitting in front cannot control what their child is doing if their back is turned,
- because the RWF seats are much larger and do not fit in a normal car,
- because the child wants to ride front-facing.
We debunk the excuses!
Each of these arguments can easily be debunked. The alleged „cramped and aching legs” in the RWF seat are a problem created by parents. Children do not complain about this position at all. The legs can be arranged in many ways – by crossing them, placing them on both sides of the seat or resting on the back of the couch. While driving, babies can see almost exactly what they would see from the front seat. Additionally, in many car models, they can observe the surroundings through the rear window.
It is also too much of a generalization to say that the journey in an RWF seat is uncomfortable for children. Parents often draw this conclusion because it happens that after switching to the FWF model, the little ones stop crying while traveling. Yes, it is possible, however, it is not about the direction of travel, but about the position of the child. In the baby carrier, the child lies more than sits and is also quite low. This position does not allow them to see much. In a car seat from the next height and weight category, they can comfortably observe what is happening outside the window, which is so engaging for them that they do not whine or cry.
The following arguments are also easy to debunk. Parents can comfortably watch what their child is doing when traveling rear-faced – they just need to mount a special mirror on the sofa’s headrest. When it comes to the size of RWF seats, it is true that they take up a bit more space in the car than the FWF seats, because it is required by their design. However, among them you can find smaller and larger models – the variety of options means that you can easily choose an RWF seat even for a small car.
And the last argument, which is also used as an excuse – because the child wants to travel front-facing: a one-year-old child who has travelled facing backwards so far, does not know what it is like to „travel front-faced”. Moving a child to an FWF seat at this stage is a decision made only by the parents.
If you are looking for an extended Rear facing Car seat check out the Avionaut Sky, A Swedish Test Plus tested car seat with the capability of rear facing until 6 Years!
Link to Avionaut Sky - See More