What is a group 1, 2 extended rear facing car seat?
A group 1, 2 car seat is a combination group seat which can accommodate a child from 9kg through to 25kg. They are called extended rear facing as they typically keep children rear facing to 25kg, around 6 years old. This stage seat can be used after the group 0+ infant seat has been outgrown, it is an alternative option to forward facing group 1 car seats.
The seat is normally outgrown when the child’s eyes are level with the top of the car seat, although it is important to check the manual for the seat.
Extended rear facing BeSafe iZi Plus, which has a 0 - 25kg weight limit, approx 6 months to 6 years.
Why would you keep a child rear facing after the infant seat?
Traditionally, children in the UK are moved up to a forward facing seat once they hit 20lbs or 9kg, yet they are much safer travelling rear facing. In Sweden, children have travelled rear facing until they are 4 years old since the 1960’s, and they have extremely low numbers of children getting killed or injured in road traffic collisions.
Rear facing car seats after the infant seat allow children to be better protected from the forces of a collision.
In an impact, a forward facing child is restrained by the 5 point harness or impact shield. The harness or shield stops their body travelling forward when the vehicle crashes, restraining them in their child seat. However, their head is not restrained and continues travelling forward. A young child’s head is 25% of his or her body weight, and in a collision this puts large amounts of force and pressure on their fragile neck and spine.
When a child is rear facing, they are pushed back into their child seat, which keeps their head, neck and spine aligned. This greatly reduces the force their body is subject to, as it is spread through the back of the child seat.
Extended rear facing child seats also carry other benefits, such as view, comfort and a reduction in driver distraction.
Many parents and carers are concerned a child will have an obstructed view when travelling in an extended rear facing car seat. This is understandable, as we are so used to seeing babies in little infant seats facing the vehicle seat. However extended rear facing seats are higher up and set further back than infant seats, giving a child a fantastic view out of the back and side windows.
Rear facing car seats offer just as much comfort as forward facing car seats, and have all the same features such as great recline options, head support and softly padded covers. They offer the same comfort and support for younger babies, and for older children, rear facing car seats can be more comfortable as their legs are fully supported, rather than hanging off the end of the seat. Many extended rear facing car seats leave a gap for leg room.
This is an important safety benefit of rear facing car seats, in that they can reduce driver distraction. A recent study has shown that children are up to 12 TIMES more distracting in a car than a mobile phone! The study found that on the average 16 minute journey with kids in the car, drivers took their eyes off the road for a total of 3 minutes. A rear facing child presents less of a distraction, and a rear facing mirror can help you check that they are OK (when it’s safe to do so, of course!)
Are forward facing car seats dangerous?
No, forward facing car seats don’t put children in danger – they have hugely reduced the number of children who are killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions in the UK. However, they are not as safe as rear facing car seats, due to the physics involved in a collision. It is important to rear face your child for as long as possible, at least until the maximum weight and height limit of their group 0+ car seat – this is when they weigh 13kg, or when the top of their head is level with the top of the seat, approximately 12-18 months. If your child is outgrowing their infant seat by height, but has not yet reached 13kg, a group 0+1 combination seat can be a good option to allow you to continue the benefits of rear facing.
R129 is the newest legislation for child seats, and it is different from standard R44 seats in several ways:
1) The crash dummy has been updated – the crash dummy can now measure more points of force on a child’s body than the dummy used in R44 testing. This now includes being able to measure neck loading, which R44 dummies cannot do. This data has shown that a child who weighs 9kg and is 9 months old is not protected in a forward facing seat, and that they are far safer rear facing.
2) Children must rear face to 15 months by law in an i-Size car seat – this will eventually apply across all seats. Even if you don’t have an i-Size car seat, you can still rear face your child for longer in a group 0+1, or group 1, 2 car seat.
3) A new mandatory side impact test has been introduced. This is not tested under R44.04.
4) The seats are selected by height, over weight.
5) The harness must be easy to adjust, and the covers simple to remove – this will be music to the ears of anyone who has spent a Saturday afternoon fighting the car seat cover!
Are they more difficult to fit?
Yes, extended rear facing car seats can be more difficult to fit, although it does depend on what seat you get. A majority of extended rear facing car seats have additional tether straps which must be fitted. Once your tether straps are fitted into your car however, they simply click to the attachments on the child seat. If you will be moving the seat between vehicles, we recommend buying a spare set of tether straps to leave fitted in the second car to reduce fitting time to that of a 'regular' car seat.
Where can you buy them?
Although there is a good choice of rear facing group 1, 2 car seats available, you are unlikely to find them in major retail stores. Extended rear facing car seats are typically available from independent retail stores.
You will find extended rear facing car seats available online, however Good Egg Safety discourages online buying as you will not have a member of staff to show you how to fit your seat in the car.