Racing For Forward Facing

There are a lot of things that get on my wick in life but largely you have to learn to live and let live! Everyone makes different decisions, especially regarding how to bring their children up, and essentially as long as you’re feeding, clothing and showing love to your little one it’s all good. However, one thing that massively upsets me is seeing people actively celebrate swapping their child’s car seat to forward facing at the earliest possible opportunity.

There are currently two laws running side by side, so if you have an i-Size seat, they must rear face until 15 months. If you have any other seat, they can be turned forward at 9kg (Alexandra was just over nine months when she hit this weight).

I’ve lost count of the amount of social media posts I’ve seen along the lines of ‘Little Timmy’s facing forward in the car now! He likes it so much better’. Really? Your nine month old child has eloquently expressed an opinion on which part of your car he’d rather look at has he? I really don’t understand the rush to forward face and why people think this is a milestone along the same lines as learning to walk or talk.

In the UK, we’re massively behind other countries, some of which require children to rear face until the age of four. My worry is that some parents just aren’t doing their research. All it requires is a simple Google search to show you why rear facing for longer is a good idea. Put simply, rear facing is much safer in a crash. Yes, you might know someone whose nine month old baby survived a crash forward facing. Yes, you might think you’re a careful driver. Yes, you might want little Timmy to have a better view when you’re on your travels. But the fact is:

Having a child in a rear facing car seat reduces the risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 90 per cent.

If the words ‘serious injury or death’ and ’90 per cent’ don’t jump out at you then let me repeat:

Having a child in a rear facing car seat reduces the risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 90 per cent.

That’s a pretty conclusive statement. Not, it might be a bit better if you forward face. Experts can explain it much better than I and there are plenty of websites dedicated to answering parents’ questions, but essentially the impact of a crash is spread across a much bigger area of their body if they’re rear facing, whereas in a forward facing seat it’s focused on their head and neck, hence the huge risk of injuries like paralysis.

We’ve all done things other parents might not approve of, but rear facing is a simple decision. It requires little to no effort for you, you’re going to have to buy a car seat either way so it’s just as easy to get one which rear faces for longer, and you’re potentially saving your child’s life. I can’t imagine living with the guilt of knowing a decision you made so little Timmy could see out the windows more easily could have such a devastating impact.

Harriet and (a very much still rear facing) Alexandra x

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