It's been a while now since the first research was released showing us that rear-facing travel for children is much safer than forward facing travel.
We are all familiar with infant carriers being used in a rear-facing position and if travelling in an i-SIZE rated car seat a baby should travel in the rear facing position until approximately 15 months old. Many parents are too quick to turn their children to the forward facing position when they hit the 9 months old milestone but the i-SIZE guideline has been put in place for very good reason - to try to prevent parents from turning their children around in their car seats too soon. Up to the age of 15 months, your child's neck strength has not yet developed enough to withstand the forces of a collision in the car, which has the potential to lead to serious neck and head injuries.
Using a rearward-facing seat after your child has outgrown their infant carrier will significantly help to spread the forces of a head-on collision over a greater area of your child's body, meaning they are subjected to far less injury upon impact.
The most common type of collision on UK roads is a head on collision. If your baby or child is sitting in a forward-facing position then the force of the crash will project them forwards away from their seat and putting huge amounts of pressure on their vital organs. The one simple change of turning your child into the rear-facing position will mean that the same impact would pull them into the backrest of their car seat, cocooning them rather than exerting pressure on them. In this position injury to your child's head and neck is far less likely.
The UK market has now been flooded with Extended Rear Facing car seats which allow children to travel in the rear-facing (and far safer) position all the way up to 4 years old and sometimes even older.
We have hunted out our favourite ERF car seats which you can check out here. And if you're worried about cost (we know baby items can cost a fortune!) then it's well worth thinking about paying the extra cost when buying the next stage car seat as it really does have the potential to save your child's life. There is also the option to buy a from-birth car seat which allows rear facing travel all the way up to 4 years old without the need to fork out for another seat when your child reaches 15 months old.
The message is simple, try to keep your little ones in their rear-facing infant car seat and an extended rear facing car seat beyond that for as long as possible - but any correctly fitted car seat is better than no car seat at all!