Adventures of a Free-From Clothbum Mum!

Cloth nappies, dairy-free living, reviews and parental ramblings!

Rearfacing – January 2013

on February 24, 2012

I know that I’m completely going off the topic of nappies, but recently I’ve been looking very carefully into carseats for Monkey. He’s only 6 months old, but 22lbs and a big, tall boy who is very close to growing too big for his current rear-facing Group 0+ carseat. However, he’s not at all old enough to be able to turned around – something that a lot of people in the UK do at about 9 months old.

Now, I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of turning babies around to face the front whilst they’re still small and I’ve found that there’s a lot of people that feel the same way. So much so that from January 2013, it’s going to become law in the EU (via ANEC) that children should not be turned around to front-facing carseats until they are 15 months old, irrespective of weight. You can find out more about this at

Now, I’ve been trying to find out more about when this will be adopted in Britain as the standard, but it’s looking as if it’s going to be happening fairly soon. I’m so pleased and excited about this for a few reasons – it’ll mean that rear-facing seats that cater for older children will be more easily available; they’ll come down in price, which will make extended rear-facing a much easier option for people as the current seats are pretty expensive and it’s just a lot, lot safer.

If you want to read more about extended rear-facing, you can go to When I sat down and read through all the information, it confirmed my initial thoughts on the fact that I just felt it was wrong to turn him round. Rearfacing is so, so much safer for little ones – that’s why we put our babies rearfacing when they are tiny. It’s five times safer than front facing and their necks and spines are much better protected. In Scandinavia, children are kept rearfacing until they are about 4 or 5 years old (to about 25kg/ 55lbs) and this has resulted in much lower rates of death/injury in car accidents, due to the higher levels of protection that these seats offer.

What I found quite astounding, when I was researching this, was that lots of the rearfacing carseats that keep a child rearfacing up to 25kgs/ 55lbs in Scandinavian countries are made by companies that we have over here, like Britax, Graco and Maxi Cosi. It seems very strange that these seats aren’t more readily available in the UK. Shops like John Lewis have started stocking some rearfacing seats, such as the fantastic (but huge) Recaro Polaric, but there’s only a few places that you can go and get a good quality seat.

The In Car Safety Centre sells the Scandinavian seats and you can then get them fitted locally if you’re not near them. There are various council-run centres where you can go and try out a range of seats, to see which will suit your car. Then, once you’ve ordered and got your seat, you can get them to fit it for you. Hopefully, over the next year or so, there will become more places where trained staff can fit these seats.

We’re probably going for the Britax Two Way Elite as it can stay rearfacing until he reaches 25kg/ 55lbs, which gives us plenty of time as we have a little boy who is going to be bigger and taller than most children of his age, but will still developmentally only be his chronological age, just on a larger frame. I would have preferred to have gone for an Isofix rearfacing seat but they are huge at the moment and wouldn’t fit in our car and leave any room for either myself or my hubby to sit down (we both have very long legs!)

I’ve heard that there are new seats coming to the market in the next year (unfortunately slightly too late for when we need to buy one) that are going to be slightly more compact in the amount of footwell space they take up, which is great news. The Cybex Sirona, that’s apparently going to retail through Mamas and Papas, looks amazing – but hopefully will come down in price as it’s got a hefty tag at the moment!

So – yes – rearfacing. It’s going to be the future for our children, and it’s so much safer. I know some people will read this and think that it’s silly, or that it’s just not going to ‘catch on’, but this is something that many safety professionals have been pushing to get made the law for years, and it’s fantastic news that ANEC have created EU legislation on this issue.

Think along the lines of …

Duvets vs sheet/eiderdowns
Baby sleeping bags vs sheets
Seatbelts vs no seatbelts
Smaller children being allowed in the front vs Height restrictions

I know some of those are silly examples, but at one point they didn’t exist, were thought of as either gimmicks or laughable concepts when they were first introduced, and are now normal and accepted as the norm.

Rearfacing for children up to at least 15 months (and potentially up to at least the age of 3) is going to become the next new norm!


4 responses to “Rearfacing – January 2013

  1. Teresa says:

    A road safety speaker is currently doing the rounds in children centres in Essex and came to us to promote rear facing seats. Thank goodness I weighed little one that day else I would have missed that talk. 100% agree with you on this but sadly it is not as well known as it should be. We need to keep making people more aware of this. They had a rear facing Britax seat for us to test and am most likely going to go for that one. Two years ago my Swedish brother-in-law went to Sweden to buy a rear facing seat for his little one. Just goes to show how little variety of seats there were only a short time ago.

  2. I know quite a few people who’ve had their seats shipped over from Sweden, which is just ridiculous when those manufacturers retail products in the UK and could just give us the same range. Was it the Britax two way elite you saw? I’m looking at that and the new Max Way, but unsure that’ll fit in my car. In Essex, you can go to the safety centre in Rayleigh every Friday. They’ll look at which seats suit your car best and it’s free!

  3. bubbablue says:

    We had similar discussion when my online friends and NCT friends all had our babies getting too tall or getting close to 9m. I’m astounded how people want to get their children into the next size up (using the ‘they cry all the time rearfacing argument or other reasons). But i think a lot more people are aware, it’s just the current prices and the fact it’s hard to find somewhere to try out the seats. Especially when you often need 2 seats as the norm.

    I wanted to keep him RF as long as possible, but when I went to buy seats, found that although the ones available would fit in my car, my OH wouldn’t be able to also sit in the front seats, and the other cars that we’d be transporting him in wouldn’t take the rear facing ones. So it wasn’t really an option.

    Both the car seat and car manufacturers need to work together on this – especially when you can buy reasonable FF car seats for under £50. At £250 each there’d be a lot of people unable to purchase and transport their children.

  4. I think that’s the plan with the new EU legislation. They’re going to give manufacturers time to produce good, cheaper seats that work better in cars. I really wanted an isofix one, but we’d have to have our knees up against our chins in the front seats to allow it to fit. The one I’m looking at costs just a bit more than the front facing one that would fit on my isofix base, so that’s pretty good. They really do need to come down in price, though, so once it’s law then the rise in demand should make that happen!

    I know what you mean about people wanting to turn their little ones round and giving all the reasons – I’ve had people telling me he’ll be bored facing backwards. He’ll be able to see out of the window, I’ve got a mirror so he can see me, he can hear me and… He’ll know no different! I doubt he’ll be bored!

    I’d love to think that more people are aware but most people I’ve mentioned it to seem completely unaware of extended rearfacing and think I’m being daft! Hopefully things will shift and it’ll become normal, affordable and standard!

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