When promoting my daughter from her Group 0+ seat to her Group 1 car seat, I did a lot of research on which one I should purchase. Whilst looking around on the net for this information, I came across a few websites which were championing rearward facing seats for children up to the age of 4 years. The reason they were being championed is because of the safety element of the seats. This was a priority for me. So it’s fair to say I was easily swayed in going down this route. There is a good article here on the benefits of rearward facing seats for children up to the age of 4 years old. The main thrust of the argument is that, in the event of a crash, in a rearward facing seat, the force applied to the child’s body is spread more evenly across the body.
It also reduces the motion of the head – if you think about it, in a forward facing car seat, the child’s head would be flung forwards and then back (in a frontal collision). As a child’s head is 25% of its body weight, the head would be flung forward and it would be the spine’s job to keep it intact. The head would not be flung forward in a rearward facing seat, thus reducing and potential neck injuries. There is more and more evidence and research out there that suggests we should be keeping our children in rear facing seats up to the age of 4. If you want to find out more, there are plenty of websites if you search for them. It’s a great website with a wealth of knowledge on rearward facing seats.
So, what did I do? I went for rear facing of course. My eldest daughter is now 3 and she’s been rear facing all her life. So, if you’re worried about them wanting to be forward facing, don’t give them the option and they won’t know any different. We’ve got a mirror in the back so whoever is driving can see what she’s up to. The seat we went for, also reclines so she can sleep on longer journeys. My daughter is quite tall for her age, and I can honestly say we haven’t had a problem with her knees being bent up in the back. They look just as they would if she was forward facing. We (my wife and I) got our rear facing car seat from the In Car Safety Centre in Milton Keynes and I can highly recommend them. We made an appointment with them, turned up and they took us through all the different options in relation to which one was best for our car. They also fitted the car seat while we were there so I personally would highly recommend them.
If after reading all the information above, you still want to go forward facing, it’s worth checking to see if your child can still remain in their Group 0+ seat a bit longer. Remember, it’s safer to stay rearward facing as long as possible. So for example, if your child is 11kg and 10 months and their head is not popping up over the top of the seat then I would keep them in their Group 0+ car seat before moving them to a forward facing one.
When I was looking for a Group 1 car seat for my daughter, I found that most manufacturers advised to be sure that your child can sit up unaided confidently on their own, as well as meeting the weight requirements of the car seat. This is sound advice.
As with Group 0 and Group 0+ seats, a Group 1 car seat is held in place with the car’s seat belt or via the ISOFix system. Seats in this group are usually a permanent fixture in the car, rather than being able to carry the child around in the car seat.
Again you can buy a base that fits in with the belt of your car or the ISOFix system, and then get a seat which clicks into place.
I wouldn’t begrudge anyone going for a forward facing car seat as I know the rearward facing seats can be a lot more expensive than the forward facing seats, and you are a lot more limited when it comes to choice. There’s also the factor that they are a lot less readily available. For example, if I go to the mothercare website, I can’t find any Group 1 rearward facing car seats. Hopefully, rearward facing car seats will become cheaper and more readily available in time, but if not there are plenty of forward facing car seats in this category to choose from.
More information may be found at my website
A Parent’s Experience of Group 1 Rear Facing Car Seats