The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

Extended Rear Facing Car Seats

Extended Rear Facing Car Seats

An extended rear facing child car seat, is a seat which allows a child to travel rear facing for longer, usually up to 4 years of age. These seats have been used in Sweden since the 1960's, and over the past few years, they have become increasingly popular in the UK due to their excellent safety offering.

ISOFIX, or seat belt fitted?

Extended rear facing car seats are available with ISOFIX, and there are also seat belt options available. ISOFIX extended rear facing car seats have an 18kg weight limit (iSize seats may differ), and some belt fitted rear facing seats have an 18kg weight limit. There are also many seat belt fitted seats which have a 25kg weight limit.

The group stages available to rear face:

Group 0+1 – 0-18kg
Group 1 – 9-18kg
Group 1,2 – 9-25kg

Combination, or rear facing only?

Some extended rear facing seats will allow the option of putting your child rear or forward facing, where others can only be fitted rear facing.

Testing

Extended rear facing car seats are currently tested to R44.04. ManyiSize child car seats which are approved to R129 will offer longer rear facing, up to approximately 4 years old (105cm). Some rear facing only car seats may also have passed the Swedish Plus Test.

Additional fitment

Leg Room

One of the most common questions asked about keeping children rear facing is "Where will their legs go?" While children are very flexible and comfortable in a rear facing seat, it can look quite odd to adults. There are seats available which have extended leg room options, which is usually achieved by adjusting where the seat is fitted on the vehicle seat.

Three rear-facing children
If children feel the need to stretch out their legs, they can stretch them up the back of the vehicle seat.

What is the best extended rear facing seat to buy?

What is the best seat for you, will depend on your vehicle, your child and your family situation. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Method of fitment – There is no safety difference between a properly fitted belted seat, and ISOFIX seat, however ISOFIX is considered safer as it reduces the risk of incorrect fitment. Belt fitted extended rear facing seats can be more difficult to fit.
    With any method of fitment you choose, be sure to seek professional advice and fitting help, read the manual and practice fitting the seat so you are confident with it.
  • Combination or rear facing only – Do you want to have the option of using the seat forward facing 'just in case', or are you 100% sure that your little one will be rear facing up until the limit of the seat? Take this into account when choosing your seat, if you aren't completely sure you will be rear facing until 4, you may want to opt for a combination seat. Similarly, if you know you definitely will be rear facing to the limit, you may want to consider a rear facing only seat, as these can often be cheaper!
  • Additional fitment – Almost all extended rear facing car seats are classed as semi-universal, and they will have a vehicle compatibility list available online. Before you buy your seat, check that every car the seat will be used in is on the compatibility list.
  • Is your child tall or heavy for their age? – Child seats with an 18kg limit will accommodate most children to around age 4. If your child is likely to reach 18kg long before their 4th birthday, a seat with a 25kg harness limit will give you better longevity.  You may also want to consider a 25kg harness limit seat if you wish to rear face beyond 4 years of age.
  • Where to buy – extended rear facing car seats are becoming increasingly available in major retail stores. However, you are more likely to find them in your local independent nursery retail shop.  Phone up local stores to see what they have in stock, and if they are trained to show you how to safely fit the seat.
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Britax State of Safety Q&A

Our very own Good Egg Safety Expert, Kat, took over the Britax Twitter page last night to hold a Q&A. She received some great questions and you can find the answers below!

Kat


Q: I’d love to know the laws on taxis and car seats.


Kat: Under 3's - no seat required no seat belt. Over 3's - no seat, adult seat belt. Children should be in rear. We would prefer to see seats used whenever possible though!

 

Q: Hi Kat, when is the law coming in for rear facing longer?

Kat: iSize came into effect in July 2013, it's part of R129 and will be fully implemented by 2018. R44 seats are still legal to use.

 

Q: When Picking A Car Seat, Especially One That Will Go Behind The Driver What Is The Best Kind Of Seat To Go For?

Kat: It really depends on your child's weight and height, what car(s) the seat will go into. Britax fit finder is a great tool!



Q: What are your top tips travelling abroad this summer and hiring cars or using local taxis?

Kat: We have a great blog on flying with young children which covers what to do with car seats abroad.

 

Q: My littles one's car seat only goes up to 13kg and he's already 10kg at 6 months lots of bigger ones are forward facing.

Kat: There are combination rear facing car seats available that offer rear facing to 18kg/25kg the Britax Fit Finder tool can help you find a rear facing seat.

 

Q: I know SIDS can occur in car seats. How can I ensure my 7 month old is safe and always breathing on long journeys?

Kat: Always ensure you plan regular breaks into car journeys to give your baby plenty of time to stretch.

 

Q: Is there an easy way to temporarily disable airbags if the child rides on the front seat?

Kat: You need to check your vehicle manual, as each car can differ in how to disable the airbag - some cars don't allow it.

 

Q: I've always planned to stay rear facing as long as possible but my 2.5yo is tall and it's getting difficult. What's the new law and recommendations?

Kat: We have a great blog post on this which explains iSize.

 

Q: My son is 15.6kg, I plan to buy a 2nd car seat for use in grandparents car, should I buy a 15kg+ or an upto 18kg?

Kat: Your son is safer in a 5 point harness until 18kg, so long as he fits in the harness. the Britax Evolva is a great 123 seat, harness to 18kg and then it converts to HBB. Britax's fit finder will tell you if it fits your car.

 

Q: What car seat is best for extended rear facing for new born or 9 month old I have an isofix Britax car seat and base?

Kat: It really depends on the child and if it fits the vehicle, Britax's fit finder can help you highlight suitable seats.

 

Q: Is it best to rearward face as long as possible?


Kat: Yes we recommend that you rear face for as long as possible.

 

Q: Do car seats expire after a length of time?

Kat: Our blog explains car seats and expiry.

 

Q: Is there anywhere you can get the car seat fitted properly?

Kat: Good Egg run checking events throughout the country, and have a retailer charter.

 

Q: Height, weight or age. Which is most important?!

Kat: R44 seats go by weight, iSize seats by height, it's important to take age into account too (so not forward facing a 6 month old at 9kg)

 

Q: I want to keep my 18 month old rear facing long as possible. Is it less safe if running out of leg room?

Kat: No, legs are in very little danger when rear facing and very unlikely to get hurt.

 

Q: What age/weight is rear facing recommended to? Hoping to use my brother in law's old seat for new baby, is this still OK?

Kat: We recommend rear facing for as long as possible. Our blog will help with re-using a child car seat!

 

Q: What are the most important points to look for when choosing a toddler car seat?

Kat: That the seat is suitable for their weight and height, fits all cars it will be used in, is easy to fit and the level of side impact protection.

 

Q: We don't have isofix in our car, does that mean our car seat isn't as secure/safe?

Kat: Not at all, belt fit seats are safe, just ensure the seat is compatible to your vehicle and fitted correctly if you have a Britax seat, the fit finder can help you confirm it's compatibility.

 

Q: Is the max child height 105cm for all rear facing car seats?

Kat: No the 105cm only applies to iSize car seats.

 

Q: When we move onto the next stage seat should I take weight or height into consideration first?

Kat: It depends what seat you've got, as to when it's outgrown - but it's weight or height, whatever comes first.

 

Q: Realistically to what age can you rear face until? I'll be checking the height/weight but roughly what age?

Kat: To age 4, although some seats (such as the Britax Multi Tech or Max Way) will go to 25kg - approx age 6!

 

Q: Does certain clothing effect the safety of a harness on a car seat?

Kat: Yes. Thick, puffy or bulky clothing can cause an unsafe harness fit - best to remove all coats before strapping in!



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