I don't remember who or what first pointed me in the direction of Extended Rear Facing (ERF) car seats. It's not the most exciting topic for today's blog post but it's something that's been on my mind a lot lately. (Such is the fast paced excitement of my life).
Car seats are a slightly controversial topic because it involves safety and noone likes to have their choices questionned. Every parent wants to pick the best and safest options for their child and I'm not here to judge anyone for those choices. One major issue in choosing to go with an ERF seat in the UK is that they are priced from £200-400! Conversely, you can pick up a fully compliant forward facing car seat for £60-£100. Annoyingly, if you buy an equivalent ERF seat in the US, they are similar prices to our forward facing seats. It seems fundamentally wrong that a type of seat which is proven to reduce road deaths should be priced at a point which is unattainable for a large number of parents. Sometime, someday, somehow, it would be great to see a change in the UK legislation on rear facing car seats which would help to reduce the prices but for now, I just want to help raise awareness.
So here's the facts: The law in the UK is that babies must use a rear facing car seat until they are 9 months old or weigh 9 kgs. In Scandanavia and, more recently, some US states, it is now standard for children to stay rear-facing until they are much older (as late as 4-5 yrs in some cases). The reason is simply that, in a frontal collision, a child is five times safer in a rear facing seat. Children are still growing and developing and the force of an impact affects them in a different way to an adult - a rear facing seat cushions those forces and they are proven to reduce child deaths.
If you can afford to consider the ERF seat option and want more information, take a look at www.rearfacing.co.uk which has all of the background and also a list of UK stockists (sadly few and far between). And whether you're going for forward or rear facing, we had a really great experience with www.incarsafetycentre.co.uk, based in Milton Keynes. They have a large range of all car seats and will spend a lot of time with you to work out the best option to fit your car.
Safe and happy driving x