The Second Child Rear Facing Car Seat Dilemma

The Second Child Rear Facing Car Seat Dilemma

maxi cosi pearl 2 way

My daughter is fast approaching the age where she is going to outgrown her newborn, rear facing car seat and it will be time to move up to a toddler sized seat.

It’s alright though, she’s my second child I have the next car seat sitting and waiting. Or so I thought. We didn’t go cheap on it either knowing we hoped to have more children we went for a good quality option so that it would have longevity.

But… the problem is, it’s forward facing.

The laws have changed and they are all a little confusing. But the basics are that you should now keep your child rear facing until they are at least 15 months old. You can read more about it on My daughter’s car seat goes up to 13kg so she might just make it, although she is tall, if slim so there is a good chance she might be too tall by this age. But my original plan had simply been to transfer her to her brother’s old forward facing car seat when this happened.

However, I have started to so some research on rear-facing car seats and what is behind this new change in child car seat legislation.  I have to say, it’s really given me reason to pause and consider what it the right thing to do.

For example, extended rear-facing car seats are five times safer than forward facing. Extended rear-facing means keeping your child until they are almost four years old rear-facing.  Five times that’s a big number. What’s the risk? Frontal collisions apparently. With the big risk being to the child’s internal organs such as the heart being crushed, damage to their spine and worst case the child’s neck breaking. You can read more on

Some scary facts and figures right there.

I try to argue it away with, forward facing was good enough for my son, why shouldn’t it be for my daughter? But the fact of the matter is, I didn’t know any better with my son. A friend talked about it a bit, but the seats weren’t even available to buy in the UK, so we dismissed it. But, I know in my heart, if I had known what I do now, I would have bought my son a rear-facing car seat. I know I would have.

Money is a huge factor too. If you look at the price – you can get a budget rear-facing for about £130/140 or if you go for an ISOfix one which I am a huge fan of (and what our current forward facing toddler car seat is) then you’re looking at £300-400. That is a phenomenal amount of money, especially when we already have a usable car seat sitting and waiting and we have also just bought my son a bigger one as he’s outgrown his. Our savings are rapidly depleting!

I can’t help but be a bit resentful that car seat companies who have already made a lot of money out of me as a parent, will be cashing on this new development. But the fact of that matter is, your children are your most precious gift. You can’t put a price on safety can you? When my husband and I have discussed this, we keep going around in circles. Yes we have a very good forward facing car seat, but we would never forgive ourselves if something happened to our daughter because we were worried about the money. We’re still deliberating and I suspect we will be right up until the time comes to move my daughter up to the next size car seat.

Tell me if you are in the same position as us what are you planning to or have you done about extended rear-facing toddler car seats?

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18 thoughts on “The Second Child Rear Facing Car Seat Dilemma”

  1. Children hate not being able to see what’s going on, I was so glad when both my two moved to forward facing and were a lot happier in the car. I think that you should also consider that a screaming unhappy child is also going to be a distraction to the driver and increase the chances of an accident, which the car seat testers do not take into consideration when creating their safety figures.

    • It’s really tricky as the safety aspects are quite compelling. You were the one after all who convinced me ISOfix was worth the money 🙂

  2. Ooh did I get a mention?
    As you know, I’m a huge advocate of rear facing. Dillon was always quite good in the car, but we were able to have the front (with no airbag) for the first couple of years. He is now using his ERF seat as a forward facing high backed booster age the age of almost 5,and it will last him to 25kg, which is several years off yet. Not bad for a couple of hundred quid over 6 years.

    Rowan at ten months old is NOT a happy rider, and his ERF seat (D’s old spare) doesn’t sit properly in the front of our new car. He’s quite happy in the back when his brother is there with him though. He still fits in his baby seat in the front when necessary though.

    Helen, I think you’d be surprised at how much they can see when RF – ERF seats are generally a lot higher than infant carriers, so they can see well out of the sides and back x

    • You did get a mention 🙂
      I think we will probably go with a ERF – it’s just the cost, but I think as I said we would never forgive ourselves.

  3. I learnt about ERF with Tabby, and though it was before law change, the safety arguements were too compelling to ignore. We have the Hauck Varioguard. It is isofix and just 179. My 6 year old nephew fitted into it recently!

    T loves it. As these seats are much higher than infant seats then they still have a great view of the world 🙂

  4. I am right there. Exactly where you are right now. I’m just ignoring it until Little N outgrows her newborn car seat (she’s one in a fortnight and Little P had long been in the forward-facing by that age!

    • I have been kind of ignoring until mine grows out of hers too. It’s such a tricky you one, but the safety statistics are so compelling.

  5. My son is 16 months and I have him in a forward facing. It was his sisters. Very informative blog, I’m online looking to see if I can afford one now! Thank you for linking with #wineandboobs

  6. We have a rear facing but baby surbo is so long that his legs are starting to get squashed against back seat! I definitely think that they are worth looking at. We have a friend who is a mechanic and insisted we get a rear facing for as long as possible. Baby surbo doesn’t mind facing that way but i need a mirror to see him which is annoying! I think it is tough. Not enough options on market at the moment.

    • I was wondering if a mirror might be useful. Interesting your comment about your mechanic friend, a friend of a friend is a nurse and said similar. I am very seriously looking at one now.

  7. I spent ages pondering this exact issue for my eldest last year. I had read about ERF seats being safer, & many countries require it until around 4 years. But it is difficult to find true ERF seats here & they are expensive. In the end, we have gone with that, though. We got the joie one.

    My daughter is now just over 2. She has never been bothered by rear facing or complained that she can’t see. She still looks out at things we pass through window. She has never not been rear facing so she knows no different, & she is facing same way as her baby sister.

    • They are so expensive! But as you say a lot of countries do rear facing until 4 years the more I read the safety stats the more I am pretty sure we are going to bite the bullet and get one.

      • Yeah that’s what I thought in the end, & plan to do the same for my youngest when she comes out of her group 0. On the travel sickness issue, btw, ours can go forwards as well. I think the ERF ones available here generally can, as far as I recall. So I’ll keep mine rear facing as long as it doesn’t make her ill & she is fine with it, but have option to switch it if there is a problem in future. That seemed like best of all worlds (except for cost!)

  8. We bought a rearfacing seat with Boo – and she moved into it pretty early- long before her rearfacing first seat ran out. But this new one is isofix. However we have a snag – whenever Boo is rearfacing in the car she screams and screams and throws up – now I suffer with travelsickness and this is the only thing that fits – (luckily our new rearfacing carseat is the Britax Dualfix which also swings round and faces forwards – lucky us as she is fine when it faces forwards. I worry because I would prefer she was rearfacing but we can’t put her through that each time we go in the car. I keep trying her rearfacing but it’s the same each time.
    I agree about the price though, rearfacing seats are so expensive – the new rules should have seen a shift in price (down wards!)

    • This occurred to me actually as I suffer quite badly from travel sickness and can never sit going backwards in a bus or it makes me a lot worse. The more I think about it I think I am going to go for rear facing, but perhaps it is worth considering a dual facing now after your comment.


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