Buying your child’s first car seat can be a rather daunting task – with the options being seemingly endless. The rules and regulations surrounding car seats are updated constantly over time, as new technology and models are developed, trying to give you the best choice for your child.
A lot of parents are unsure whether front or rear-facing is the ideal car seat for their child, and there are mixed options across the board. To give you an insight into why rear-facing for longer might be the way to go, and answer your burning questions, read on.
Your rear-facing car seat questions answered
What does the law say?
In the UK, the law states that a rear-facing car seat is a requirement for children from birth up to 15 months old. This can be based on height-dictated sizing, or a weight (removed weight), depending on which seat you opt for.
It’s important to note that keeping your child in a rear-facing car seat for longer than is recommended isn’t illegal, and can actually be a safer choice for your child, leaving them at less of a risk during an accident. According to experts, keeping your children rear-facing will offer 75% more protection in the event of a crash. This way, their whole body will be held in place during a collision, with the car seat itself taking on the impact. Whereas, in a forward-facing car seat it’s only the torso that’s really being secured, whilst the neck and limbs will still feel the strain and repercussion of being in a crash. With all this in mind, it’s recommended to stick with a rear-facing model for as long as possible.
If you’re worried about the cost involved when you eventually do graduate to a front-facing car seat, why not opt for something like the Joie 360 swivel seat which offers both positions, perfect for when you’re ready to make that change.
How can I still check on my child?
Firstly, the rule of thumb is to avoid turning around to see your child whilst driving, as this will only lead you to being distracted and ending up in an accident. But we do understand that parents feel as though they need to check on their child as they drive, to make sure they’re happy or sleeping, and there are handy accessories out there that can help you do just that. Invest in a specially designed baby mirror that will usually attach to the headrest of the seat where your car seat has been secured, allowing you to get an angled view of your child from your rear-view mirror.
Will my child be upset by not being able to see me?
If you’re concerned about your child being irritated by not only being unable to see you, but having very little stimulate them visually, then worry no more. By putting your child in a rear-facing car seat, you’ll actually be giving them a better view than if they were front facing, as they’ll have a better view out of the side and back windows. Your child will be able to look out of these windows as you drive and take in the scenery. What’s more, there’s plenty of car seat toys that can be bought and attached to the straps of the seat, so there’s always a way to keep your little one entertained.
Will my child be comfortable?
You must consider the weight and height of your child when looking for the perfect car seat, as any seat you come across will have certain limits that you’ll need to be mindful of. Whilst it’s perfectly fine for a child to have their feet or legs dangling over the edge of the seat, as long as they are within the height and weight restrictions, sitting in a rear-facing position will give them more support for their legs from the backseats.
If you’re still concerned, it’s best practice to get your car seat installed or checked by an expert at your retailer of choice, if you need an extra piece of reassurance.
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