Earlier in the month we purchased a new (old) car and as this car didn’t have isofix points we decided to make an appointment with the In Car Safety Centre in Milton Keynes to see what seat belt fastening extended rear facing (ERF) seats were available to us.
We all know that children below the age of 12 or below 135cm tall whichever comes first are required by law to travel in a car seat, over the next few years the government is brining in new regulations, called i-Size into force where parents will have to keep their baby in a rear-facing seat until they are 15 months. This move will be based on a baby’s length/child’s height not weight. Extended rear facing seats or ERF seats are the safest option for parents as some can be used until 18kg and others to 25kg.
I’m not saying that forward facing car seats are not safe because they are but from the research I have done on these seats they are not as safe as extended rear facing car seats, The Rear Facing website has some great information and videos that show how car seats react in a crash. I find the video below particularly interesting.
When we arrived at the In Car Safety Centre I was surprised at just how many seats they had on offer that could be used as ERF seats (not all were suitable for us), I had originally had my mind set on an Axkid seat which was rear facing to 25kg with the option of forward needed if required.
Our consultation started with a look at our car to see how much space there was between the seat and how big the actual seat was. We have a pretty comfortable sized car which meant that we had quite a few options, I’d not actually heard anything about the Britax 2 way elite but we were told that it was one of the best selling seats in Sweden where they rear face until 3 or 4 years of age so when it was shown to me I was quite impressed.
I was told that the Britax 2 way was one of the only seats stocked that used the harness on the car seat until 25kg, most other seats use the seatbelt to fasten the child in past 18kg. The seat has a recline function, washable cover and can be forward facing if need be.
We purchased the baby head guard as an extra as Arthur’s head is still quite little and it looked more comfortable with the extra support. We also decided to get a seat protector for under the car seat to try and protect the leather, there is space at the bottom for toys and books which will be handy as Arthur grows. The staff at the In Car Safety Centre installed the seat and advised us to go back if we needed help altering the recline of the seat or if the tethering needed to be changed, there are a selection of videos on their website like the one below which shows a step by step installation which may prove useful should we need to do something ourselves.
The seat we purchased retails at £220 which is one of the cheaper seats on the market, I do believe the price of some of the isofix seats will come down in time as more brands start bringing out new models. If you do have isofix in your car Kate from willow makes three has a great post on her blog about the Cybex Sirona.
The In car safety centre really know their stuff when it comes to extended rear facing seats and I can’t recommend them highly enough, of course if you can’t fit a rear facing car seat into your car they also have a range of forward facing seats too. It’s definitely worth going to see someone who is specially trained in the fitting of car seats as your children’s lives are precious which makes it so important to know that they are safe when travelling in your car.
Do you have an ERF seat? If so which one do you have and how do you and your child find it?