This week new mum Clare Rawlinson gives her advice on rear facing car seats, together with a great tip on how you could look to cut the price you pay.
Rear facing VS forward facing car seats
Along with many others, we have been forced to tighten our purse strings of late. Gone are the days of frivolous purchases, nights out and mini breaks. Raising a child is getting increasingly expensive, and we are always on the lookout for deals, offers and ways to save money on all of the paraphernalia associated with babies and toddlers. We have been fortunate enough to have friends and relatives who have passed things on, and we are no strangers to eBay or FaceBay for some of the larger purchases.
There is, however, one area which we have been unprepared to scrimp on, and that is our daughter’s safety. Finding the right Group 0 car seat was relatively simple. There are reviews and advice all over the internet, and there is a huge choice widely available, to suit a range of budgets. Current UK law states that all infants must be in a rear facing car seat until they reach 13kg (from around 9 months of age), therefore the only decision to be made is which brand and model to go for.
When it came to start researching her next car seat, things became much more complicated. I will be honest, and admit that I assumed that forward facing would be the only option. It didn’t take long, however, before I stumbled across the forward facing vs. extended rear facing debate. In Scandinavia, it has become common practice for children to be kept in a rear-facing seat until the age of 4, or even 6 years old. As a result, the number of serious injuries and fatalities of children in road accidents has been drastically reduced. In the USA, new guidelines are suggesting that children should remain rear-facing until the age of 2 years old, and, there are talks that new UK guidelines will be phased in from later on this year, advising that children remain rear facing until approximately 15 months old.
The statistic that really swayed it for me, though, was the fact that studies have shown that children are as much as five times safer in rear-facing car seats that forward-facing car seats. This is mainly because of the relative size of a young child’s head compared to the rest of their body. In an accident, the weight of a child’s head falling forwards at speed can place a huge amount of pressure on the neck, causing severe injury or fatality. In a rear-facing seat, however, the head is not thrown forward, and the impact is spread along the length of the back of the head and spine.
Trying to find the best rear facing car seat
Having made up my mind that I wanted to go rear-facing for as long as possible, I set about finding the right seat. I began my search by visiting www.which.co.uk
, thinking that it would be a good place to start. I was disappointed to find that there were hardly any reviews of extended rear-facing seats, and none had scored highly. This was apparently due to the fact that rear-facing seats can be tricky to install, therefore, an incorrectly installed rear-facing seat is more dangerous than a forward-facing car seat. Whilst I can see what they are saying, it would have been useful for the seats to have been tested and reviewed based on their true potential. I then began a broader search, and found that there is surprisingly little information when it comes to buying extended rear-facing car seats in the UK. More to the point, the choice available is tiny, compared to the forward-facing car seats, and stockists are hard to find. This obvious lack of demand in the UK has the knock on effect of meaning that the prices of the rear facing car seats can be as much as double the price of front facing seats, ranging from £250 upwards.
How I bagged a 10% discount on a Besafe iZi Combi seat
The model that we decided on was the Besafe iZi Combi, as it seemed to offer lots of space for growing into, and reclined more than some of the other seats. At £350, it wasn’t the cheapest option, so we began to look into ways to reduce the cost. Having chatted to other friends in my ante-natal group, it became clear that there were several of us who had decided to go ERF. We decided to group together to approach a local stockist to see what they could do. We managed to negotiate a 10% discount on the seat, along with some added extras including a seat protector, sheepskin liner and a photo session voucher, on the proviso that 5 of us ordered the seat with them. I would definitely recommend group buying as an approach to saving money if there aren’t any existing voucher codes or discounts available. You never know what you might get off and it’s a tempting proposition for any retailer to sell in bulk!