Forward Facing Car Seats – Are they safe? 

The other day I cleaned off the Britax car seat for A. We have one which is a Group 0-1 car seat so is suitable from Birth to 4years old. It can be rear facing, then from around 9kgs it can be forward facing.

A is 9months old but is only 6.8kgs (15lbs 1.5oz) so still needs to be rear facing.

However, I decided to look up about forward facing car seats and when should a baby/child be moved in to one.

In the United States, a baby must remain in an infant carrier until they are 1 year old AND 20lbs in weight. New government law, now states a child must be in a rear facing car seat until they are 2 years old.

In many European countries children must remain in a rear facing car seat until they are 4 years old!!

I was shocked to learn that car seat manufacturers, such as Britax, cater for the European laws and sell rear facing car seats suitable for children up to the recommended ages. Yet, they do not offer the same seats to British parents.

According to research, rear facing car seats are 5 times safer in a head on collision than forward facing seats.

Now as a parent that is frightening. I’m lucky enough that I have never been in a head on collision, but it scares me that I could be putting my child at unnecessary risk by putting her in a forward facing car seat.

My older children, at 4 & 5 years are now in booster seats, so are too old to be rear facing (not that I could get them in to a rear facing seat now!).

I am now seriously thinking about purchasing a new car seat for A that will enable me to keep her rear facing until she is at least 2 years old.

Personally, I would love to see the UK law changed. In Sweden, children are unlikely to be killed in a car crash. Between July 2006 and November 2007, not 1 child under the age of 6 was killed in a car accident! According to the AA, in the UK 205 children are injured and 21 killed every year in car accidents. That is a horrifying amount! Especially if those little lives can be saved just by keeping them in a rear facing seat!!

I know what I’d rather do!!!

*info from www.rearfacing.co.uk

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2 Comments

  1. November 27, 2013 / 7:50 pm

    One minor correction (as a rear-facing nut myself ;)) your 4 and 5 year olds aren’t too *old* to be rear-facing – weight/height are more important measures. You can get RFers up to 25kgs which is about the same as an average 6 years old if I recall correctly.

    Anyway, both of mine (4y and 18mo) are rear-facing and I’m just glad I found this info when we were making our original car seat purchases. It makes me bloody angry that, like you say, retailers cater to Euro laws and regulations but provide limited options for us to continue rear-facing. It’s all well and good stating “no demand” (as they do) but unless you tell the customer there are better options how the hell are they supposed to know?!

    Will shut up now before I properly launch into rant mode…!

    • November 28, 2013 / 4:28 pm

      Realised this morning the age of your post.. really should check dates before waffling on